Commission defends Ashers and IRA play park actions

Ukip's Henry Reilly
Ukip's Henry Reilly

The Equality Commission has defended itself from claims that it has taken starkly different approaches to a Newry play park being named after IRA man Raymond McCreesh and its treatment of a Christian bakery which has declined to supply a cake with a gay marriage slogan.

The commission is engaging in litigation against Ashers Bakery in Belfast and has asked Newry and Mourne District Council to carry out another consultation on the name.

Newry and Mourne Ukip representative Henry Reilly said he was “disgusted” with the Equality Commission, claiming they have taken “a softly, softly approach with the republican-controlled Newry and Mourne Council while being belligerent in its approach to Ashers Bakery over a cake”.

But a spokeswoman for the Equality Commission replied that the issues “involve quite different aspects of equality law and engage different processes”.

The commission is supporting an individual taking a case before the County Court against Ashers Bakery “alleging discrimination under two anti-discrimination statutes”.

But in the naming of McCreesh Park the commission “found that there was a breach of the council’s commitment in its Equality Scheme to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity” and therefore recommended the council “review its decision”.