Niland called all seven town councilors Dec. 18. Councilors opted to call an emergency meeting. The vote was swift and unanimous. Town Council Chairman Michael Fairbanks was not at the meeting.
“The guy is trying to get his kid in the ground before Christmas,” Councilor Neil Wetherbee said. “I can’t imagine a worse scenario. The guy’s going through enough and now he had to deal with us. He doesn’t deserve this.”
Niland said he was fortunate the council was able to meet on such short notice
“That six councilors were able to come here on three hours notice was incredible,” he said. “It shows a lot that they can pull themselves together when they see an injustice. They can pull together and do the right thing, no matter what the rules and regulations are.”
Town Councilor Al Dimmock said the ability to respond quickly is part of why he became a town councilor.
“In situations like this, if I’m needed, I’m here,” Dimmock said.
Councilor Tom Cardon said Niland deserved to have his son buried in Forest Hills, after living in town for 23 years.
“The guy’s a resident for all those years,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine saying no.”
Acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau said this was the first time he could remember something like this occurring.
“This is my first personal knowledge of a situation such as this,” Budreau said. “This is an urgent situation, someone who is doing advanced planning may bump up against this rule and make other arrangements. Unfortunately, there is an urgency here.”
Niland said a vigil was held at Alexander Carr Park for Nicholas the week he died.
“It was the most magical experience,” he said.
Niland could have had a Derry resident buy the plot for him.