I heard yesterday that UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy has got himself excited about the name of Raymond Mc Creesh Park in Newry.
Seemingly Danny is not too chuffed that a play park in the city should be named after one of South Armagh’s most gallant sons. Personally I think it is a fitting tribute highlighting Raymond’s tenacity and commitment to the republican cause in painful and testing times. In the eyes of the vast majority of those from the city the naming of the park is a welcome recognition of the bravery of the hunger striker.
Danny has pledged his support for the formal complaint lodged by Newry District LOL No.9 to have the playpark renamed.
No doubt if he succeeds Danny will then have Mick Mallin Park and James Connolly Park, also in the city, firmly within his sight. Bizarrely Kennedy argues that the name should be changed as a matter of equality. He even claims the support of the Equality Commission for his crusade! This is strange in a city with a 98% Nationalist majority!
It has been muted that the move to change the name of the estate is being led by Unionists from the Altnaveigh area. These people are very clearly caught in a time warp, as manifest by such petty objections. Furthermore they also have very selective memories. They appear to have forgot that many of their Nationalist neighbours from the Newry area helped to repair Altnaveigh Orange Hall after it was damaged in a sectarian attack a number of years ago. Eaten cake is well and truly forgotten!
Furthermore Danny appears to have overlooked the names of other landmarks in the City. For example Bagenals Castle is named after one of the most ruthless butchers in local history, a man who massacred men, women and children. However there were no complaints about this sites name from Gregory.
SF councillor Pat Mc Ginn also noted the deadly silence of Kennedy and other unionist representative about loyalist flags erected at a mixed play area in Saval. SF councillor Charlie Casey commented further that unionists have not asked for other sites such as Needham Bridge to be renamed. If the rationale (if you can call it that) for objecting to the naming of Raymond Mc Creesh Park is engaged then surely these other places should be renamed!
This is no doubt another political stunt by Danny. It is merely pointless party politics and is raising tension in the area prior to the Twelfth. Danny appears to have no problem with republicans like Raymond Mc Creesh whenever they are ensuring that the Orange Parade in Newry is not attacked!
Its just a pity that Danny did not have the same decency as the courageous man he is trying to remove the honour of naming an estate after.