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UUP/SDLP must explain contradictions on McCreesh Park – Kimmins

2 March, 2015 - by Elizabeth Kimmons

Sinn Féin Councillor Liz Kimmins said tonight it was well past time for unionist and SDLP councillors to respect the wishes of the people of Ballybot on the issue of Raymond McCreesh Park.

And she said the hypocrisy of UUP and SDLP councillors in the city knew no bounds and accused both parties of engaging in electoral stunts which smacked of desperation. 

Speaking after tonight’s council meeting Liz Kimmins said:

“Our position on this issue has always been consistent.  We, and the overwhelming majority of people from the Ballybot area, believe that the name of Raymond McCreesh Park should remain unchanged.

“The Park was named in 2001 under the tutelage of a council dominated by unionists and the SDLP.  Council procedure was fully followed and surveys taken by the Council indicated a clear support for the Raymond McCreesh name.

“In the seven-year period from the naming of the park in 2001 until 2008, no unionist councillors, SDLP councillors or members of the public raised any concerns or complaints over the decision. 

“In 2008 the Newry District Loyal Orange Lodge, which is not located in the vicinity of the park, made a complaint.

“That complaint was investigated by the council and it found, after much deliberation, that the name should be retained. Since then there has been a very focused and nasty campaign to demonise this area and its community.

“It’s well past time for unionist councillors to respect the wishes of the people of Ballybot.

“However, I’m dismayed that the SDLP have now joined in the efforts to ride roughshod over the wishes of the people of the area.

“Clearly they are acting at the behest of a party leader so desperate to curry favour with unionist voters in a Westminster election that they have done a humiliating U-Turn on their position to appease the UUP and the Orange Order.

“It’s clearly time for all involved to respect the wishes of the people of the area and bring the curtain down on base election stunts.”

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