The mother of a man murdered in the Kingsmills Massacre says she is disappointed a council has voted to keep the name of one of those linked to the atrocity on a children’s play park.
Beatrice Worton’s son Kenneth was one of 10 Protestant men shot dead by the IRA as they returned home from work in 1976.
He was 24 at the time and a father of two young children.
On Monday night Newry and Mourne District Council voted to keep the name of gunman and hunger striker Raymond McCreesh on a children’s play park in Newry.
Tensions rose between unionist and nationalists representatives in the council chamber as the motion was debated
Last year McCreesh was linked to the Kingsmills Massacre — along with a string of other terrorist attacks following an investigation by the Historical Enquiries Team.
Mrs Worton told the Belfast Telegraph on Monday night she was disappointed with the decision, which comes just days after a memorial to the 10 men was desecrated with pro-IRA slogans.
“I don’t think it’s right at all,” she said. “You have this then we can’t even put up a memorial without it getting damaged.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with people at all. It’s disgusting.”
The park was officially renamed the Raymond McCreesh Park in 2001, having previously been called Patrick Street Play Area.
Unionists appealed to the Equality Commission which called for an equality impact assessment in 2008. It wrote to the council asking if its legislation on public spaces matched criteria set out by the Equality Commission in a report on the matter in 2007.
Following an official complaint by a Newry Orange Order lodge, the council sought independent legal advice. An equality impact assessment was carried out by the council last year with the results presented to a sub-committee of the council last week.
The report found no breaches of equality legislation arising from the naming of the park.
Eleven years on from the controversial name change, the matter returned to council where it was discussed during a sub-committee meeting last month.
It decided that naming the park after McCreesh complies with their legal requirement to “promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different religious belief and political opinion”.
UKIP member Henry Reilly said he was disgusted by the decision.
UUP councillor Andy Moffett said victims of the families had stated they were devastated the name of the park would remain.
William Burns from the DUP said it was “totally wrong”.
Independent councillor David Hyland accused unionist councillors of “trying to make political capital” from the situation.
SDLP councillor Michael Carr said he understood how deeply feelings ran on the issue.
Twenty councillors voted in favour of accepting the findings and keeping the name, five against with one member abstaining.
Victims campaigner Willie Frazer, who was in the public gallery during the meeting, said he would be raising the matter again with the Equality Commission.