A victims’ group has welcomed new SDLP MLA Fearghal McKinney’s support for the re-naming of a play park named after a terrorist.
Innocent Victims United – which represents 14 victims’ groups and former security service support organisations – said that the South Belfast MLA’s backing for changing the name was a significant policy shift by the SDLP.
The children’s play area was named after IRA man Raymond McCreesh, who was found with a weapon used in the Kingsmills massacre.
After being selected to replace Conall McDevitt last week, Mr McKinney defended SDLP councillors in Newry who voted with Sinn Fein to name the play park after the IRA man.
But three days later, Mr McKinney said that he would now support the re-naming of the park.
Kenny Donaldson, from the victims’ group, said: “The play park should never have been named after a terrorist in the first place and was a gross offence not only against the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism but also the wider community of Newry and Mourne district.
“The decision taken by councillors who are corporately charged with providing civic leadership as well as embedding good relations within communities was an affront to decency.
“IVU does not accept the warped rationale that it is acceptable for terrorism to be glorified within those communities where there is perceived to be a majority ‘republican’ or ‘loyalist’ population.
“The glorification of ‘republican’ terrorism is as wrong in Crossmaglen as it is in Castlederg and the glorification of ‘loyalist’ terrorism is as wrong in Carrickfergus as it is in Cookstown.”