Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein's Anderson under fire over Raymond McCreesh Park tweet

McCreesh Park in Newry
McCreesh Park in Newry

Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson has come under fire for stating the controversial Raymond McCreesh Park will remain named as such, despite plans to dispose of the park.

The park has been at the centre of row since it was renamed in 2001 in honour of the IRA hunger striker, who was one of ten prisoners who died in the Maze in 1981.

It has also caused controversy as Raymond McCreesh was found to be in possession of a rifle used in the Kingsmill massacre in 1976 in which 10 Protestant workmen were murdered.

Last autumn, unionists and the SDLP backed plans to get rid of the park and build 200 homes along with a new park on the site in Ballybot.

In a tweet on Sunday, Sinn Fein MEP Martina Anderson wrote: "Today we passed Raymond McCreesh park. I'd like to send a message to political unionism, the orange order, the SDLP and self-serving independents.

"The people of Newry named it Raymond McCreesh Park - and Raymond McCreesh Park it will remain."

In response, Alliance leader Naomi Long urged Martina Anderson to "think twice" before posting such messages.

"Maybe stop and think about the message you're also sending to young lads in your home city, starved of opportunity and hope, who think the only way to really be somebody - a hero with their name on a park or a sports club - is through violence," she said.

"And maybe think twice before posting."

In March, Sinn Fein threatened court action against Newry, Mourne and Down District Council in a bid to force it to disclose legal advice about the park.

The party said the council is withholding the advice, which it claimed states the council should consult with the community over the park's future.

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