Family of Scottish child crushed to death by headstone slam new safety guidelines
The family of a child crushed to death by a headstone have slammed a cemetery safety report as "too little too late".
Tragic Ciaran Williamson died at the age of eight when a 7ft headstone fell on top of him while he was playing with friends.
The headstone severed his spinal chord and killed him instantly.
The Fatal Accident Inquiry into Ciaran's death heard that one of the reasons a proper inspection regime of the headstones wasn't in place in Glasgow was due to a lack of resources.
And his dad Ryan Williamson and grandmother Margaret Aitken have reacted angrily and said the new guidelines do not go far enough to ensure a similar tragedy won't happen again.
They said they believe the Scottish Government's report gives local authorities, who are responsible for burial ground maintenance, the same opportunities as before the tragedy to ignore inspection and maintenance regimes if they are short of cash or resources.
They also said the guidelines are just a repetition of existing standards.
The family have been fighting for answers since the tragedy at Craigton Cemetery, Glasgow, in May 2015.
Ryan, Ciaran's father, added: "I am now facing yet another Father's Day without Ciaran, all because a council didn't have a proper maintenance programme in place.
"I don't see how this does anything to stop another wee boy or girl being killed in the same situation.
"We are constantly being told local authorities have no money and that funding is being cut all over the place.
"How will councils now suddenly be able to afford these 'suggested' inspections if they have even less funding? It's too little, too late."
The Fatal Accident Inquiry into Ciaran's death heard that one of the reasons a proper inspection regime wasn't in place in Glasgow was due to a lack of resources.
The inquiry heard that an employee raised concerns about the issue in 2013, but no action was taken.
Margaret and Ryan said the report - Burial Ground Memorial Safety: Local Authority Guidance - gives little guidance on what to do if the owner of a lair can't be found, which was the case with the memorial which crushed Ciaran.
The report states: "The responsibility for the full and complete repair of memorials remains the duty of the lair owner.
"The long-term solution to address all memorials which have failed assessment is to complete a full repair.
"Any repairs which are carried out would expected to meet current industry standards with an appropriate level of guarantee offered by those making the repairs.
"Local constraints, potentially imposed by the total cost for large numbers of memorials requiring repair or confirming lair ownership, may mean this is not always possible."
Ciaran's grandmother Margaret said: "The problem we have is that these are merely guidelines.
"We have been saying all along that there should be legislation, to ensure local authorities have to maintain burial grounds properly.
"If these are just guidelines, what are the legal implications if they do not follow them "We've read the report, all 33 pages of it, and it just repeats over and over that councils 'may' use the guidelines.
"Nowhere does it say they have to follow them."
In Scotland, 32 councils have responsibility for more than 2,200 cemeteries, and hundreds of thousands of gravestones.
Margaret added: "This comes across as if they are saying if lair holders can't be traced it doesn't matter.
"The headstone which killed Ciaran was old, there weren't any owners.
"So in that situation, it's still unclear what councils are supposed to do to make sure that is safe.
"It says they should repair the headstone, but basically it might not be possible if they can't afford it.
"How is this any different to the situation we had before Ciaran died?"
A Scottish Government spokesman said: "Our thoughts remain with the family of Ciaran Williamson.
"The Scottish Government is confident that the comprehensive guidance on memorial safety will bring about positive and effective change and improvements on memorial safety, assisting local authorities with their statutory responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act."