Irwin seeks Villiers meeting on play park name

August 3, 2015

Newry and Armagh DUP MLA William McCreesh is seeking a meeting with the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, as part of the ongoing Unionist campaign to change the name of Raymond McCreesh Park in Newry.

Speaking after a DUP delegation met with the Equality Commission, Mr Irwin accused the commission of failing to exhaust all its powers on the controversial issue of the park, which is named after Camlough Hunger Striker, Raymond McCreesh.

“The affront of this obviously bad decision means it is incumbent that the body charged with oversight of equality and good relations should pursue every avenue open to it,” said Mr Irwin.

“The DUP delegation made it clear to the Equality Commission that we believed they did not exhaust all their powers on the McCreesh Park issue. The Commission could and should have referred the Council to the Secretary of State. They are entitled to do so under the present legislation.

“The DUP does not accept that the most recent Council consultation process was a genuine one. It was as much a box-ticking exercise as the previous process designed to deliver one outcome and so this option was open to the Equality Commission.

“The Equality Commission made it clear other such decisions could occur again. This reinforces why they should have used all the powers at their disposal on the McCreesh decision.

The DUP MLA vowed to continue to press the issue “until this place where children play is named after an appropriate role model. I will now be requesting a meeting with the Secretary of State on this matter.”

Mr Irwin went on to criticise the most recent Council consultation process, describing it as a “box-ticking exercise” and said his party does not accept the process was “genuine”.