Councillor Julie Flaherty welcomes confirmation that Child Funeral Fund campaign has been successful

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Councillor Julie Flaherty welcomes confirmation that Child Funeral Fund campaign has been successful

Portadown Ulster Unionist Councillor Julie Flaherty has welcomed the news that the Child Funeral Fund will be operational in Northern Ireland from June 1st.

Councillor Julie Flaherty said:

“I have been most heartened by the announcement the Communities Minister made on Mothering Sunday, that from 1st June the Child Funeral Fund for Northern Ireland will be operational.

“This is a quest I’ve been on since I first brought the issue to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council back in 2018 and at all times I was motivated by the experience I lived through following the loss of my own son Jake, and the knowledge that other families who would find themselves in the same position as we were, would receive some help.

“I’ve been very frustrated at times, I’ve been very impatient at times and I’ve been so very angered at times. But I always knew that this was a good thing to do, the right thing to do and the compassionate thing to do. This has been a long, emotional road but I have been so encouraged along the way by the support I have received.

“May I thank the Chief Executive and Council Officers in Environmental Services, Cemetery management and registration for taking this issue so seriously, sensitively and having worked so hard to implement the first scheme of mitigation here in ABC Council.

“By understanding how important this was to me, and many others, I am so proud that my Council was able to set the marker for other councils…and we did…other councils did swiftly follow suit and now we see, at last, the Minister sign off. The dedicated group of civil servants and officials worked wonderfully to see this delivered for grieving parents.

“Because it was a good thing to do and it was the right thing to do.

“It has been said to me on occasion that I use my grief or I should move on. I never will, nor do I want to. I ask for these things because this is my experience and this is the life I live. I hope that the experience we had with Jake has shaped this in some way and the Child Funeral Fund will be a welcome comfort to any parent who will unfortunately need to avail of this in the future.”