Belfast Telegraph

'Raymond McCreesh park name forces everyone in Northern Ireland to face hypocrisy of nationalists'

Raymond McCreesh was a terrorist who was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and IRA membership.

The Armalite rifle he was caught with was linked to a string of murders including the Kingsmills massacre when ten men were lined up and shot on the side of the road for the crime of being Protestants.

Yet last night in committee Newry and Mourne Council voted to retain the name of a childrens’ play park named after him.

Sinn Fein members decided to walk over the feelings of Protestants who pay rates to the council while SDLP members absented themselves from the meeting – an action which was little better than voting to support the retention of the name as their absence ensured that the Sinn Fein proposal passed.

Victims of the IRA in the area - who contribute to the cost of running the council by way of their rates - were dismissed.

The situation forces everyone in Northern Ireland to face a number of uncomfortable facts.

Firstly, it reveals that it is perfectly in order to directly link a party in the government of Northern Ireland to a terrorist organisation. You cannot claim to be offended when Unionists refer to your party as Sinn Fein/IRA when your councillors voted to name a play park after an IRA terrorist.

Secondly, it exposed Nationalist talk of a “shared future” as so much cant and hypocrisy. You cannot claim that you want to share Northern Ireland with members of the other community whenever you are naming play parks after someone linked to the murder of people purely because of their religion.

Thirdly, for all the talk of Nationalists about protecting minority rights, their actions on Newry and Mourne Council sends a message that once Nationalism is in the majority they will do whatever they like. All thought of equality goes out the window.

Finally what does it say about the Nationalist members of Newry and Mourne Council that they think someone linked to murder is to be looked up to and emulated by children?

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