A UUP councillor has appealed to the SDLP leader “to match his words with action” and instruct party representatives in Newry to support any motion to rename a playpark named after an IRA man.
On Tuesday SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell said his party’s Newry councillors acted “entirely in good faith” in naming the playground after Raymond McCreesh, who was arrested with one of the weapons used in the Kingsmills massacre, and later died on hunger strike. “It was not in their thinking or intention to cause hurt and distress to anyone,” he said.
Yesterday the deputy mayor of Newry and Mourne, UUP councillor David Taylor, responded: “It was abundantly clear at the time the decision was taken that severe damage had been caused to community relations in Newry and Mourne, with the greatest hurt of all being felt by the many families who had lost loved ones at the evil hands of republican terrorism.
“The SDLP leader’s remarks on Tuesday will be welcomed by all right-thinking people, but I would appeal to Mr McDonnell to match his words with action, and to instruct his party representatives in Newry and Mourne to support any forthcoming proposal to reverse the initial decision taken in respect of the naming of the playpark.”
The News Letter asked the SDLP yesterday what steps will be taken to rectify the name. A spokeswoman replied: “There is currently no motion to rescind the original motion naming McCreesh Park before Newry council. Should such a motion be tabled the SDLP leader will be advising the SDLP Newry councillors to reflect on the hurt caused by the original motion and vote to support any motion to rescind.”