Newry play park to retain name after vote

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Thursday, February 12th, 2015
Community, News, Politics
Councillors in Newry have voted in favour of keeping the name of a play park in Newry which was named after a former Provisional IRA member.

Raymond McCreesh Park in Newry will retain its name

Raymond McCreesh Park in the Patrick Street Area of the city has caused widespread controversy in recent times, with Unionists in particular venting their anger at the choice of name. The vote to retain the name took place yesterday and was passed with 15 in favour and 4 against. Newry & Armagh DUP MLA William Irwin slammed republican councillors on Newry Council for voting to name the play park after a ‘convicted IRA terrorist’. Irwin labelled it as ‘sectarian’ saying the decision ‘beggared belief’ and argued that the Equality Commission must now act on the matter. “This is an important test for the Equality Commission. That organisation has been very public about challenging Ashers Baking Company. It’s time it acted over this ridiculously sectarian decision. It would be a more sensible use of its resources. He added, “The SDLP has serious questions to answer too. Only one SDLP member attended the meeting. Such an abstentionist position stinks and makes a total mockery of the assurances given by the SDLP leader. The SDLP has caved in under pressure from SF.” Echoing Irwin’s sentiments, Ulster Unionist Councillor David Taylor also expressed his ‘anger, disgust and strong disappointment’ at the decision.

The Patrick Street play park is named after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh

Councillor Taylor said, “The decision taken to recommend the retention of Raymond McCreesh Park had once again demonstrated a failure by elected representatives on Newry & Mourne District Council to promote equality to all of their citizens. “The decision only serves to further compound the pain experienced by victims of Republican violence who had already endured many years of anguish and pain as a consequence of losing their loved ones to the evil actions of Republican terrorism.” Sinn Fein Councillor Liz Kimmins welcomed the vote. “Myself and my council colleagues carefully considered each individual response to the consultation on the review of the naming of Raymond McCreesh park. We acknowledge once again that not everyone will be content with the decision made tonight. This was always going to be the case whichever way it turned out. “We do respect the views of those in opposition to the naming of the park, however 2001 when the park was first named, there was unanimous support shown by the local community for this play park to be named after the hunger striker, Raymond McCreesh,” she added. More on this story: 1000 letters of support for Raymond McCreesh Park handed into Newry Council Irwin urges response on Newry play park ‘terrorist’ naming Row over contentious Newry play park rumbles on Equality Commission to investigate Newry Council decision over Raymond McCreesh Park Unionists outraged after Newry play park renaming

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