Pensioner launches legal challenge over disposal of McCreesh Park

January 7, 2019

A Newry pensioner has launched a legal challenge over the council decision to sell off a city centre play park named after hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.

The longterm resident, who it is understood lives close to the Patrick Street park, is seeking a judicial review of a decision by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s decision to dispose of the site as it is “surplus to requirements”.

The park has been at the centre of a protracted debacle over being controversially renamed Raymond McCreesh Park in 2001. Since then victims of the IRA and unionists have demanded the name of the park to be changed.

The Council decided in October that the park site is surplus to requirements and will be sold off using the D1 process, offering first refusal of the site to other public bodies, with the naming of the park a matter for any new owner.

According to the Ballybot resident’s legal representative, Gavin Booth of Phoenix Law, the woman is launching the judicial review as she claims the local community was not properly consulted about the council’s decision and that the play park is “now particularly important to the local community”.

The resident also argues that a number of landmark sites in the Newry area have been named after figures from the unionist tradition, including Queen Victoria.

“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council have initiated the D1 process without proper community consultation,” said Mr Booth who added that his client’s case is “that the council have not abided by fair procedures in taking the decision to dispose of Raymond McCreesh Park.”

“As such our client has now commenced proceedings to ensure that the council acts in accordance with the law, irrespective of the wider political considerations.”