Vast Majority Of People Want To Retain Raymond McCreesh Park Name Say Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin’s Newry and Armagh MLA Mickey Brady has said that he and the vast majority of people believe that the name of the Raymond Mc Creesh Park in Newry should remain unchanged.

The Sinn Féin elected representative was speaking as Newry and Mourne Council prepare to discuss the most recent responses to their most recent consultation on the name.

dn_screenThis will be a baptism of fire for those councillors from the Down District Council area who have not hitherto been directly engaged in this debate over the naming of the playpark.

Camlough man Raymond McCreesh was a volunteer in the South Armagh Brigade of the Provos and died on 21 May 1981 after taking part in the Hunger Strike for 61 days.

Mickey Brady said: “The Park was named in 2001 after Council procedure was fully followed and surveys taken by the Council indicated a clear support for the Raymond Mc Creesh name. In fact 84% of respondents supported the name. I have every confidence that the latest consultation will once again reflect that support for retaining the name.

“‘From the naming of the park in 2001 until 2008 there were no issues, complaints or problems raised regarding the park’s name. In 2008 the Newry District Loyal Orange Lodge, which is not located in the vicinity of the park, made a complaint and the matter was raised in the Equality Commission. That complaint was investigated by the council and it found, after much deliberation, that the name should be retained.

“Since then there has been a very focused and nasty campaign to demonise this area and it’s community who avail of the amenities. Those who would say that this community and all others who supported the naming of this Park after Raymond McCreesh had displayed a lack of respect and tolerance towards the feelings of the unionist community know very little about this close knit Ballybot community and its history of neighbourliness and friendliness. I reject this slander on both myself and those I represent”.

DUP Down District Councillor from the Rowallene area, Billy Walker, said to Down News: “The eight unionist councillors will definitely oppose the naming of this park after an IRA terrorist.

“This Sinn Féin proposal to press with the name of the playpark after Raymond McCreesh will do nothing but cause political and community rancour.

“We must move on from our troubled past. Even their demands to rename the Newry Mourne and Down Council to include the Gullion area as 75% of the voters in the Rowallene area are unionist and have been left out in the naming process. Sure they too have a case to present on the same basis. It is just going to be impossible to include all off the council area in the name and we need to accept that.

“The row over the playpark may well end up in the council chamber and our position is quite clear on it.”