Special Council Meeting scheduled to discuss Equality Commission’s reversal on McCreesh Park

September 26, 2016

Representatives of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland have been invited to address the Council on why they changed their position in regard to the review of the decision to name Raymond McCreesh Park. The Special Council Meeting will take place on 22nd October with nationalist councillors expected to challenge the Equality Commission’s decision to reverse its initial approval for the retention of the naming of McCreesh Park in Newry.

On Thursday, Councillors sitting on the Good Relations group met with representatives from the Equality Commission on Thursday last to discuss the Commission ‘s letter to Council sent in June, advising them that it was rescinding its initial decision made in March 2015 that the Council had complied with the Commission’s recommendations in a review of the naming of the Patrick Street park after IRA hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

The letter stated that the Equality Commission believed the Council had not fully complied with recommendations, specifically regarding transparency and recommended a renewed debate and vote on the naming of the park. The reversal came after Bessbrook pensioner Bea Worton – whose son was killed in the Kingsmill massacre – was granted permission to seek a Judicial Review against both the Commission and the Council over the decision to retain the name of the park in light of Raymond McCreesh having alleged links to a gun used in the atrocity.

In the event of a fresh vote, the retention of the name will depend on the vote from SDLP councillors as a combined Sinn Fein and SDLP vote in favour of the name retention would mean there would be no change. If SDLP councillors vote to change the name it is expected to swing the majority vote for a name change to be implemented.