REASSURANCE FOR BEREAVED FAMILIES FROM IRISH ASSOCIATION OF FUNERAL DIRECTORS - 02/04/2020
Members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors are today speaking out to reassure bereaved families that funerals of their loved ones are continuing to be carried out with the utmost dignity and respect, during what they have described as the most difficult time for arranging funerals that they have ever experienced.
Paula Townley-Crosbie of P Townley & Sons in Drogheda said: “Over 30 years we have built a reputation for our professionalism and the personal service we provide to local families but we have had to completely change every aspect of how farewells are conducted, in order to mitigate risk and to protect grieving families, the whole community and our staff.
“As members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors, P Townley & Sons follows stringent policies and is adhering to the advice set out by the Association from HSE guidelines and, when I explain to grieving families that we are adhering to these guidelines, the majority of families completely understand the reason why we cannot offer them the type of funeral that they are typically familiar with.
“In this past week I have received messages personally from families who said they were dreading the thought of not giving their loved one the expected traditional send off, to say that in fact the funeral had actually passed off better than they could ever have imagined in these circumstances. One person said that taking the gathering right back to immediate family was not as difficult to deal with as they had thought it would be. They sat and reminisced, told stories and shared some precious family time and are reassured that we will arrange a gathering of their large circle of family and friends to celebrate their loved one at a memorial service on a later date.
“Unfortunately we are not in a position to offer families the opportunity to take loved ones home at this time, as it is impossible for us to ensure adherence to social distancing, as set out by the Government, when the deceased is at home. When the deceased rests with us, we offer the maximum number of four members of the family to alternate sitting with their loved one as laid down by the Government whilst ensuring the safety of the family and our staff.”
Speaking on behalf of Irish Association of Funeral Directors, Colm Kieran said: “We would appeal to the public to work with us during this crisis as our staff are on the frontline, leaving their families at home to do their level best to provide the bereaved with the excellent level of quality and caring service for which our members are renowned. We would ask the public to respect our staff and assist us in adhering to the HSE and Government guidelines in order to protect all concerned.
“We are more mindful and sensitive than ever to the pain of bereaved families who are trying to grieve and say goodbye under these restrictions and we are working tirelessly to comfort those in their anguish.”
Members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors handle almost 80% of funerals across the country every year and have a reputation for being trusted and for treating grieving families with the utmost professionalism and respect. As the situation is changing daily, IAFD member firms throughout Ireland are continuing to care for bereaved families and ensure that funeral arrangements are carried out with dignity and to the highest standards.
For further information, please visit: https://www.hse.ie/eng/
The HSE & The Irish Hospice Foundation have established The National Bereavement Support Line, A National Freephone Service - 1800 80 70 77 it is now available Monday to Friday from 10am to 1pm.
It will be officially launched by the Irish Hospice and HSE on the 4th June
Dear IAFD Member
The Irish Association of Funeral Directors, in collaboration with public health agencies, are acutely aware of the worry people are currently feeling. As the situation changes daily, IAFD member firms throughout Ireland are continuing to care for bereaved families and ensure that funeral arrangements are carried out with dignity and to the highest standards. The health and welfare of the public, the bereaved, and IAFD member staff are our greatest concern.
At this unprecedented time, the Irish Association of Funeral Directors has been inundated with calls from anxious bereaved families asking for advice about the burial and cremation of their loved ones and, more distressingly, the fitting goodbye which they feel their loved one is entitled to, irrespective of the current crisis. The Association is acutely aware of the worry people are feeling regarding the attendance and direction of funerals.
Members of the Irish Association of Funeral Directors handle almost 80% of funerals across the country every year and have a reputation for being trusted and for treating grieving families with the utmost professionalism and respect.
Whilst the Association members have been doing their best to allay fears for families, the reality is that the Association must adhere to guidance from the authorities in how to handle a funeral in what is unchartered territory for us all.
Guidance form Health Service Executive (HSE) advises that funerals can be held privately behind closed doors with family and close friends can be present. There should be no public advertisement of funeral arrangements – in print or online – but death notices can be placed without arrangements. Families can advise friends and relations privately of funeral arrangements. There should be no provision for condolence book and pen at the funeral and public reposing must be discouraged as should funeral home gatherings. Family gatherings should be by invite only and funeral masses/services are now restricted to a maximum of 10 people (adjusted as of 31.3.2020). Social distancing must be maintained with no handshaking or hugging. Mourners can express their condolence online at www.rip.ie, Irish Independent, Irish Times, The Examiner and regional newspaper websites or send condolence or Mass cards by post
Speaking on behalf of Irish Association of Funeral Directors, Colm Kieran said: “We appreciate that we are in the midst of the most complex situation that the Irish people and our Association has ever faced and the protection of bereaved families, the public and our staff is our greatest concern.
“At this time we are bound to conduct funerals to the extent advised by the government and HSE until directed otherwise. We do not wish to alarm the public or add to the trauma that grieving families may be suffering nor does this mean that the standard of our care or quality of our service is diminished. We are more mindful and sensitive than ever to the pain of bereaved families who are trying to grieve and say goodbye under these restricted circumstances and we are working tirelessly to comfort those in their anguish.”
As the situation is changing daily, IAFD member firms throughout Ireland are continuing to care for bereaved families and ensure that funeral arrangements are carried out with dignity and to the highest standards.
A spokesperson for IAFD said: "We have issued a guidance policy to our members in the unfortunate event that they may have to arrange a funeral for a victim of coronavirus. Whilst this policy may make for uncomfortable reading it was not our intention to alarm the public or be insensitive to the trauma that loved ones may face should a member of their family die from the disease. We will continue to monitor advice from the government and although the health and safety of our members is paramount, we would assure the public that should any of our members be required to arrange a funeral, under these unprecedented circumstances, they will do so with the utmost respect and professionalism for the deceased and their bereaved family.
Tuesday 10th March 2020
The Association was established in 1979 to promote excellence in funeral directing and to foster cooperation between members to enable them to provide a better service to their clients. IAFD members conduct 80% of funerals on the island of Ireland. The Association is consulted by government, local authorities, media, interest groups and the general public on matters relevant to funerals. The IAFD has an established Code of Practice which must be adhered by all of it's members.
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