Grandmother concerned IRA name will still remain

A grandmother taking legal action over the playground being called after an IRA hunger striker remains concerned a new process will not guarantee its name goes, the High Court heard on Friday.

Bea Worton “cautiously” welcomed the decision by councillors to review the future of Raymond McCreesh Park in Newry but her lawyers urged against ending the case without certainty on the outcome.

A final order on proceedings has now been put back until next week at the earliest.

Mrs Worton, 89, was seeking to judicially review Newry, Mourne and Down District Council for naming the park after the IRA man.

At a meeting on Wednesday night councillors voted on three options: keep the park’s name, rename it or leave it in place pending the outcome of a play strategy which includes a proposal to close either that playground or another in the area.

A majority of 23 representatives from Sinn Fein and the SDLP backed the third option, recommending a review of the land.

With consultation on the park’s future set to begin in January, the court was told a final decision is expected by April.

A barrister representing the council argued that the new circumstances could lead to Mrs Worton achieving what she sought by an alternative route.

But counsel for the pensioner, David Scoffield QC, said she still has major reservations. He told the court that the name remains, with Mrs Worton concerned that the outcome is not guaranteed.

Mr Scoffield urged the judge not to dispose of the challenge amid the continued uncertainty.

Mr Justice McCloskey raised the possibility of dismissing the case without prejudice, meaning Mrs Worton could return to court in future.

Adjourning to next Wednesday, he requested more information on any link between the Equality Commission’s position and the actions of the council.