So, another ten year battle comes to an end. Raymond McCreesh was an IRA volunteer who was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and PIRA membership. He died on Hunger Strike in the Maze Prison after 61 days in 1981.
“Raymond McCreesh created so much fear in the unionist community. When he was caught he was setting up an ambush for police and Army with a rifle which was used in the Kingsmills massacre.
“This weapon was used to shoot Protestant farmer Sammy Rodgers who Raymond McCreesh delivered milk to as a milkman. Our equality impact assessment in Newry and Mourne means that unionists have to live with the council formally honouring a convicted terrorist who has been officially linked to the Kingsmills massacre.”
The same report also goes on to note that:
In 1977 McCreesh was convicted of attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and PIRA membership. He died on hunger strike in 1981. Last year the PSNI Historical Enquiries Team linked him, along with two others, to a string of IRA murders committed with the Armalite he was caught with, including the Kingsmills massacre in 1976.
Two days ago a new memorial to those killed at Kingsmill was attacked and defaced with pro IRA slogans. Last night Newry and Mourne Council voted twenty to five (with one SDLP councillor abstaining) to name a children’s playpark in Newry after McCreesh.
In 2008 the Equality Commission called for an equality impact assessment. When kicked over to a council subcommittee the council rejected that. Which makes the council’s statement to the BBC all the more odd:
…council formally acknowledge that the decision to rename the play park had potential to adversely impact upon good relations between people of different religious belief and political opinion.
Which means what precisely?
It all reminds me of Max Hastings’ verdict on statutory regulation of the press, “such action will resemble banning smoking in a terminal cancer ward”…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty