Naming playground after IRA man “obscene” – victim

Sammy Heenan, at his remote farm in the hills around Leitrim  were his father was murdered by the IRA in 1985
Sammy Heenan, at his remote farm in the hills around Leitrim were his father was murdered by the IRA in 1985

A Newry and Mourne ratepayer whose father was murdered by the IRA last night branded the council decision to name a playground after Raymond McCreesh “one of the most obscene ever taken in terms of glorification of terrorism in Northern Ireland”.

Sammy Heenan, whose father William was shot in his own back yard in 1985, said the council decision “begs questions of the naive people who would tell us that republicans have changed and that we should not be bound by the past”.

“Clearly the unionist minority in Newry and Mourne are still second class citizens – it is a cold house for Protestants,” he said.

“Sinn Fein are attempting to distort the past and poison the minds of the future generation not least of all children who would use this playground.

“We were not all equal combatants in a war and Raymond McCreesh and his like were not victims – or heroes. We were subjected to a terrorist campaign of sectarian extremism. This resulted in evil sectarianism such as Kingsmills and also saw a man walk up behind my father in his own back yard and shoot him twice in the back of the head, leaving me an orphan.

“My mother and grandmother died only three years before and I was a 12-year-old boy lying in bed when I heard a painful yell and heard the gunshots. I witnessed a stranger driving my father’s car away.

“I ran out and called out for my dad again and again but there was no answer. Then I followed the trail of blood to find where they had dragged him.

“I ran half-a-mile to a neighbour’s house for help.”

The IRA wrongly claimed he was in the RUC, he said.

“The man who did this was cut from the same evil cloth as Raymond McCreesh; republicans have never shown any remorse for these actions.”