Petition launched against renaming of Newry park garners huge support
A petition rejecting any motion to rename Raymond McCreesh play park in Newry has received almost 2000 signatures since it was launched just two weeks ago.
The appeal comes after it was revealed that the mother of one of the men murdered in the Kingsmill massacre in 1976 has been granted permission to mount a High Court challenge over the naming of the Newry playground after hunger striker Raymond McCreesh.
Bea Worton – whose son Kenneth was one of 10 people murdered in the Kingsmill massacre in January 1976 – is challenging the decision by the former Newry and Mourne District Council to call the park after the Camlough man who died on hunger strike in Long Kesh in May 1981. Her barrister said that Mrs Worton “remained shocked and bewildered by the insensitivity of the decision,” in light of claims that McCreesh was reportedly in possession of a rifle used in the Kingsmill killings when he was captured later that year.
Proceedings were issued against the Commission and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, after a judge ruled that the naming process breached Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, which requires public authorities to promote good relations between those of differing religious backgrounds or political opinion.
Since it’s launch, 1937 supporters of the park name have flocked to sign the petition, with over 600 of those leaving messages on the ipetition site reiterating their support that the park, situated in the mainly nationalist area of Patrick Street in the city, should keep its name “in respect and honour of this great man.”
The petition itself demands that “The many who admire Irish freedom fighter Raymond McCreesh have as much right to remember him in this way as those who admire unionist peers, British knights and British kings.”
Those behind the petition have been sharing it on social media sites since the pensioner’s High Court challenge was announced but it remains to be seen whether the voices of local residents will be heard amid the ongoing controversy over the naming of the play park.
The “Say No to renaming Raymond McCreesh Park” petition can be found at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/say-no-to-renaming-raymond-mccreesh-park