The debate over the length of time people have to wait for funerals in North Ayrshire rumbled on this week with a priest saying that delays are causing issues.

Father Mark Kelly of St Palladius in Dalry has praised North Ayrshire Council’s team but says they need more staff in order to get waiting times back to normal.

North Ayrshire Council say that there is no longer any delays and that anyone requesting a funeral should be able to get it within the normal period.

Fr Kelly said: “Three or four days used to be the norm. But the default now seems to be two weeks and I think it is purely down to the lack of staff.

“The guys at North Ayrshire Council do a fantastic job but it’s just not enough.

“I have been told that they could sometimes be on standby for other areas of the council such as the gritters.

“It is creating two different events.

“People suffer the shock of a loss and then try to get back into a routine and normality and then have to go through it all again with the funeral.

“I can’t praise the staff highly enough but I think this has been ongoing for a year or so, I don’t think it’s a blip over Christmas and the winter, they happen every year.

“It is now very unusual for a funeral to take place within a week and this is across North Ayrshire and across denominations.

“We have an ageing population and a duty of care towards the bereaved.”

A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We would like to reassure families who may be concerned at reports of lengthy delays, that the busy period has now passed and there are currently no delays in arranging funerals.

“We apologise to the small number of bereaved families who have experienced delays, but can assure them that our staff have been working extremely hard to ensure the funerals are able to take place as quickly as possible.

“If families approach us today to arrange a funeral, this can now be arranged within the normal waiting period.”