Stewart Dickson MLA said: “I am appalled by the decision to retain Raymond McCreesh as the name of this play park. What sort of message is this sending to the children who will play there? Naming the play park after Raymond McCreesh, a convicted terrorist, only glorifies terrorism.
“This is a shameful affront to the victims of IRA violence and will hurt community relations, not only in the local area, but across Northern Ireland. I hope this will not be the final decision and that something can be done soon to overturn it.
“I have come to expect such depraved grandstanding by Sinn Féin, but the SDLP have serious questions to answer as to why eight of their Councillors were absent for the vote. Alasdair McDonnell’s apology for the actions of his Councillors in supporting the name in 2012, is now a hollow shell of an excuse. How could he admit that his party got it wrong to join with Sinn Fein but do nothing to ensure they would vote against retaining its name? McDonnell’s leadership is completely undermined by the lack of respect shown by his supposed party colleagues in Newry and Mourne.
“Those SDLP Councillors who did not attend the vote should be utterly ashamed of themselves for neglecting their responsibilities to the local community, and undermining the integrity of the Council.
“Ultimately, the actions of their Councillors now raises serious questions over the SDLP’s commitment to a shared future.”