Fight over IRA park name will go back to court: Frazer

Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer
Victims' campaigner Willie Frazer

Victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer said the legal challenge against naming a council playground in Newry after an IRA man will be taken back to the High Court.

In 2015 Bea Worton, 89, launched the challenge against the council naming the playground after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

McCreesh was arrested in 1976 several months after the Kingsmills massacre in which her son Kenneth was killed by the IRA. McCreesh and two other colleagues arrested with him were each using weapons used at Kingsmills.

In December the High Court suspended her legal action on the understanding that the council was moving to resolve the issue and that a conclusion was expected by this month.

However, the court reportedly allowed Mrs Worton the option of returning to court if the process did not result in the park being passed into community hands, which was described as an alternative solution to her request to change the name.

But Mr Frazer, who has been supporting Mrs Worton, voiced disappointment and anger after the SDLP and Sinn Fein voted together to thwart a unionist motion in the council on Monday night to change the name. The nationalist amendment instead opted to continue with the process of handing the park into community hands.

Mr Frazer did not accept the nationalist amendment.

“We will be bringing this issue back to court, the council have abdicated its responsibilities, enforcing cultural division ensuring that unionism is unwelcome within Newry city,” he said.

“I would like to thank Arlene Foster who contacted me last night to pass on her regards, saying she will do all she can to help.”