SDLP will await McCreesh park report
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
THE SDLP's group leader in Newry and Mourne District Council has said the party will not be changing their stance on the naming of Raymond McCreesh Park until they have seen the results of an Equality Commission inquiry into the issue.
Michael Carr clarified the party's stance on the naming of the park after comments last week from the SDLP's newest MLA indicated they would support changing the name of the park.
Former UTV presenter Fearghal McKinney took over the SDLP's South Belfast seat after it was vacated by Conall McDevitt.
During an interview on BBC Radio Ulster he said that the naming of the park was wrong.
“The SDLP has already made it clear that what was done was wrong, in naming it McCreesh Park, and the SDLP does not support the naming of it after an IRA hunger striker," he said.
“The Newry councillors acted with the best of intentions but the outcome was wrong."
When asked would councillors support a motion changing the name of the park he said he would expect them to.
“I expect they would support that motion ... I would support that motion," he said.
However, the SDLP group leader in Newry and Mourne has said the party will not be changing their view on the name of the park until they see the results of an Equality Commission report.
“Our position hasn't changed," said councillor Michael Carr.
“There has been an Equality Commission inquiry launched into whether or not the council followed due process and its own procedures on this issue.
“We firmly believe that it did but we will await the results of this report and assess our position from there."
He also called on politicians to allow the Commission to carry out their inquiry independently.
“It's very important for the legitimacy of this report that the Commission are allowed to carry out their work without outside interference, whether that be from MLAs or the Secretary of State," he said, referring to comments Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has made on the park.
His party colleague Connaire McGreevy had previously accused Ms Villiers of completely compromising the report's findings.
“The interjection of the Secretary of State, however, will inevitably taint the findings of the final report," he said.
“As a party the SDLP has made its views clear on the issue. We are prepared to accept the findings of the Commission."
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