Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines

Fri 14 February 2014, 6:57pm

The Equality Commission has produced its draft report on Newry and Mourne Council’s decision to name a children’s play park after IRA terrorist and hunger striker Raymond McCreesh. The play park had initially been called the Patrick Street Play Park but in 2001 its name was changed to honour McCreesh who was captured in 1977 in possession of one of the guns used in the Kingsmills massacre the preceding year.

In 2012 the Sinn Fein and SDLP majority on the council decided to retain the naming of the park after the terrorist. A previous council subcommittee had claimed the name complied with their obligations “promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different religious belief and political opinion.”

The Equality Commission’s draft report is reported by the News Letter here:

The report said that after repeated commission letters in 2008, the council sought legal advice which concluded that the naming was “acting in a manner which is contrary to its own equality scheme”.
The commission added that while some people thought the name was solely a matter for immediate neighbours, “public spaces should be comfortable for everyone to walk in whether they live in the immediate area or not”.
It added that “the play park name presents a significant chill factor for the use of a council-run play park by families of a Protestant/unionist background”.
The report found that the name of the play park “has been the subject of much public discussion in the context of good relations and a shared future [and] is indicative of the potential to be damaging to good relations in the Newry and Mourne District Council area and beyond”.
The commission found that “in the end the decision making came down to party political voting” but added that councillors “cannot approach decision-making in a biased way, with a closed mind and without impartial consideration of all the relevant issues”.
It added that “little consideration” appears to have been given by councillors to reverting to the original name – Patrick Street Play Park – which indicates that the exercise was “focused more on process than on the substance of the impact on the Protestant/unionist community of naming a publicly-owned and run facility after such a controversial figure”.
The initial process of naming it after Mr McCreesh did not meet the council’s own Equality Scheme.
“This appears to have been more focused on process and on maintaining the name of the play park than on paying due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and…good relations. There is little evidence that the duty was exercised in substance with rigour and with an open mind in the decision-making process.”
The commission concluded that there had been “a breach of the council’s 2012 Equality Scheme commitment” and recommended that the council review the naming decision and its related policy within 12 months.

The council now have the opportunity to discuss the report and reply to the Equality Commission before it produces its final report.

From the News Letter:

The council said it was a draft report and declined to comment.
SDLP councillor Michael Carr said the report had to be brought to council before comment could be made.
Sinn Fein councillor Charlie Casey said the report had some inaccuracies and that a response would be made to the commission after it had been brought to council.

Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Delicious Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Digg Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Facebook Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Google+ Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on LinkedIn Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Pinterest Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on reddit Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on StumbleUpon Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Twitter Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Add to Bookmarks Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Email Share 'Terrorist play park breached equality guidelines' on Print Friendly

Comments (41)

  1. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    I think everyone can agree Turgon that everything in northern Ireland should be acceptable to both communities.

    All items that people find act as a “chill factor” should be removed.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  2. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    The SDLP at leadership level has stated that this decision was morally wrong; Sinn Féin has not made any such statement.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  3. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Ah but therein lies the problem Mc Slaggart.

    What if one community finds offence and chill factor in what another community holds dear???

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  4. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Charles_Gould

    Raymond McCreesh for some people is a hero.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  5. Neil (profile) says:

    The Shinners make no attempt to hold the moral high ground on this one Charles. That falls to the stoops, your party of choice, and rank hypocrites on this one.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  6. Sp12 (profile) says:

    Citing chill factors and equality guidelines.
    Unionism opens another can of worms.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  7. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    How much of a chill factor us it that the ” national holiday” 12th July, is about triumphalism bigotry and one side lording it over the other.

    Whilst one wouldn’t deny the OO and unionists their right to celebrate their views surely it should be looked at re equality when its held up as the ” national holiday”???

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  8. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Compare and contrast in terms of moral integrity: The SDLP has argued that the decision of the council was wrong. SF have no realisation that it was so.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  9. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Charles_Gould

    Compare and contrast in terms of moral integrity:

    “Why, then, was an artificial famine permitted to occur after 1847, and why didn’t the British government do much more to mitigate the effects of the enormous initial food gap of 1846-47? In many contemporary famines a variety of adverse conditions make it difficult or impossible to deliver adequate supplies of food to those in greatest need. Such conditions include warfare and brigandage, remoteness from centres of wealth and relief, poor communications, and weak or corrupt administrative structures. Ireland, however, was not generally afflicted with such adversities.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/famine_01.shtml

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  10. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    The what-about-ery on this thread has reached the level of the absurd, the ridiculous, and the risible.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  11. Neil (profile) says:

    Beginning with: the SDLP condemned it, whatabout SF?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  12. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Charles_Gould

    You asked:

    “Compare and contrast in terms of moral integrity”

    Calling the Irish people starving when food was being sent out of the country “what-about-ery” from my perspective is……..

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  13. Sp12 (profile) says:

    “the ” national holiday” 12th July”

    Don’t forget the 13th
    That’ll be that famous protestant work ethic ;)

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  14. sherdy (profile) says:

    When will the Equality Commission make a ruling on the Orange Order July shenanigans?
    Hatred and bigotry seem to be okay when handed out by Protestant Unionists.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  15. jagmaster (profile) says:

    Unionist politicians in Newry would sooner use a small poorly equipped play park to score cheap political points rather than attack the scandalous lack of investment as a whole into the Newry and Mourne area.

    Witness the shenanigans over the Narrow Water bridge funding to see why many working class Nationalists are disillusioned with the system and how it treats them.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  16. mr x (profile) says:

    Colm Toibin’s book ‘The Border’ ends with an interview with Robert Black, who survived 18 bullet wounds at Kingsmills. There’s a picture of him with his greyhounds .
    The book ends with the words ‘He had forgotten that he was a survivor’.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  17. iluvni (profile) says:

    “…..the play park name presents a significant chill factor for the use of a council-run play park by families of a Protestant/unionist background”.

    Surely it presents a significant chill factor to many a decent Catholic family too?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  18. Red Lion (profile) says:

    This is such a no-brainer.

    SF (and SDLP) happy to utilise equality assessments when it suits them, as in Belfast City Council.

    But happy to ignore equality when it suits them as in Newry.

    And unionists have nothing to fear in a United Ireland? Yea Right is the message sent by all this.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 4
  19. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Red Lion

    The SDLP at leadership level have pointed out unequivocally that they thought the decision was wrong. In stark contrast to SF.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  20. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Calling the Irish people starving when food was being sent out of the country “what-about-ery” from my perspective is……..

    And just like that, a line is neatly drawn between the Famine and Raymond McCreish to legitimize the IRA’s murder campaign.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  21. Neil (profile) says:

    The SDLP at leadership level have pointed out unequivocally that they thought the decision was wrong. In stark contrast to SF.

    If the height of your much beloved moral high ground is that you condemn your own actions I’d suggest the pedestal you’ve placed yourself on is on very shaky ground Charles.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  22. When there is a lot of whataboutery going around I remember what my Ma always said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  23. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    The SDLP at leadership level have pointed out unequivocally that they thought the decision was wrong. In stark contrast to SF.” – Charles_Gould.

    It seems to have escaped Charles somehow that, not only do Sinn Féin not think that naming the playground after one of the hunger strikers was wrong, but rather that it was a most honourable action.

    The SDLP, on the other hand, voted for it despite having qualms, purely out of concern that, did they do otherwise, they might lose votes.

    Now who are the moral degenerates, Charles ?

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  24. Other (profile) says:

    Might the issue be the link to the Kingsmill Massacre? The tit for tat killings of innocent Catholic and Protestant ordinary working people was particularly abhorrent to many on all sides.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  25. aquifer (profile) says:

    Yeah people tend to be a bit squeamish about murder.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  26. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    Unionist politicians in Newry would sooner use a small poorly equipped play park to score cheap political points rather than attack the scandalous lack of investment as a whole into the Newry and Mourne area.

    Witness the shenanigans over the Narrow Water bridge funding to see why many working class Nationalists are disillusioned with the system and how it treats them.

    A very valid point jagmaster, for all the demagogues over the SDLP antics the UUP and DUP vote in the area is in decline and being sucked up by the likes of Henry Reilly of UKIP who actually represent people in the area, if there is political points to be made it won’t be more pro-union or even anti-IRA votes at the expense of the SDLP because they’ve been losing their own pro-union vote through negative politics, poor representation and lack of substance.

    My only additional comment is that Unionist voters are giving up on the UUP and the DUP because of the failure to address Newry as an economic priority. This might mean Danny Kennedy or Jim Wells losing their marginal seats.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  27. .. abhorrent to many ..

    I would say most.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  28. He was far too controversial a figure to have a children’s play park named after.

    It’s council ran so it should be welcoming to all.

    This was Sinn Fein political voting. There could have been a more accommodating name, culturally Irish but appealed to both communities sense of Irishness or Ulster leanings.

    Perhaps a hero of Irish Mythology, a local gaeilgeoir enthusiast, a presbyterian minister who spoke gaeilge…something apolitical.

    Perhaps the imagination doesn’t stretch that far but as elected representatives you’d think they’d put more thought (& research) into it.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  29. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    SDLP at leadership level could see the choice was inappropriate.

    SF could not even see this.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  30. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “And just like that, a line is neatly drawn between the Famine and Raymond McCreish to legitimize the IRA’s murder campaign.”

    Queen Victoria has been left in the Guildhall in Derry. Her sons head is sitting in a little stand and no one objects.

    The topic is one off “equality guidelines” and how they should be applied. If Raymond McCreish” is unacceptablet then so is old queen vicky. That is a lot of stuff to be taken down and things to be renamed.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  31. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    “And just like that, a line is neatly drawn between the Famine and Raymond McCreish to legitimize the IRA’s murder campaign.”

    As for legitimize the ” IRA’s murder campaign.” we just had the 100 celebration of putting the gun into democratic process. Time for the Alliance party to start protesting about the statue of “Carson”.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  32. tacapall (profile) says:

    Different faiths different visions and while unionists have no qualms about their own tribe publicly celebrating being up to their necks in fenian blood throughout the towns and villages of this part of Ireland, they probably wont get any sympathy about being offended by the naming of a park after a republican by those same fenians who don’t view Raymond McCreesh in the same manner as unionists do.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  33. Neil (profile) says:

    SDLP at leadership level could see the choice was inappropriate.

    SF could not even see this.

    Translation: The SDLP has principles! Principles it is quite willing to abandon at the sniff of a few votes.

    SF has principles Charles Gould disagrees with.

    Now if the stoops high morality is based on principles it is happy to abandon for a few measly votes then their morality is negotiable. Is it any wonder they’re dying on their arse in the polls? The SDLP, the party of middle class values, for doctors and policemen! That’s the reality, as opposed to your oft repeated fantasy.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  34. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    SF when in power ride roughshod on IRA victims interests, using childrens play areas, and see no issue with that. SDLP accept such an approach is not right.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  35. Neil (profile) says:

    Which they demonstrate by voting in the exact same way as SF. So spineless that they won’t vote in keeping with their own principles in case it costs them a few votes. Pathetic.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  36. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    Which they demonstrate by voting in the exact same way as SF. So spineless that they won’t vote in keeping with their own principles in case it costs them a few votes. Pathetic.

    Lose votes to Sinn Féin you mean? Surely that would reflect the extent of the local demand for the play park’s name?

    The SDLP have already criticised the decision before a major election, so if there are votes to be lost or gained from the decision, then the die has been recast on that issue.

    The problem here is that the DUP and UUP don’t even felid candidates in the area where the park is, so what are they doing to change opinion in these areas? I would go into the Daisy Hill area with SDLP activists and explain the inappropriateness of using public money which is there for everybody for your own personal causes, but the problem with the DUP and UUP is that choosing to even be an Irish nationalist is inappropriate enough. What type of shared future is that?

    I love Newry, I love Daisy Hill, and I do want the SDLP to put their best foot forward there and try to win the vote. The people of Newry deserve better than having the vast majority of political discussions focused on a few square metres of metal.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  37. cynic2 (profile) says:

    “Raymond McCreesh for some people is a hero.” . but for the rest of us he was a sectarian racist murderer

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  38. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    Who did Carson murder McSlaggert?

    The gun has also been in existence for hundreds of years, notably also by the IRB just a few years prior to the UVF. Guns are also used to defend every parliament in the world, and many countries extend that right to their citizens for defensive use (as was the legal and freely available to do in the UK in the day of Carson). Guns for DEFENCE aren’t the problem. The offensive use of guns for TERRORISM is the problem.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  39. Morpheus (profile) says:

    AYM, there is no way you kept a straight face when typing that. It was the importation of 25,000 rifles and 3-5 million bullets from Germany to prevent the democratic will of the people by the use of violence. It never ceases to amaze how ‘our’ violence was OK but ‘their’ violence was not.

    Charles, on this issue the SDLP should never have gone along with SF – public spaces should be open and welcoming to also they should have voted against it and called the play-park something neutral. This sorry exercise ripped the arse out of the good work done to bring neutrality to BCH

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 1
  40. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    Guns for DEFENCE aren’t the problem. The offensive use of guns for TERRORISM is the problem.

    The UK parliament had made a democratic ruling for all-Ireland home rule, Carson’s movement was AGGRESSIVE Force and illegal.

    “I’ll see you through this business, if I should have to go to prison for it.” Edward Carson

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larne_gunrunning

    If it sounds like terrorism, and looks like terrorism … Well just look at the justifications for loyalist paramilitaries in the future.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0
  41. Mc Slaggart (profile) says:

    ayeYerMa

    “Who did Carson murder McSlaggert?”

    The democratic process.

    What do you think?
    (Log in or register to judge or mark as offensive)
    Commend 0

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Copyright © 2003 - 2014 Slugger O'Toole Ltd. All rights reserved.
Powered by WordPress; produced by Puffbox.
197 queries. 0.912 seconds.