McDonnell must speak out on play park name – Dickson

Alliance Justice Spokesperson, Stewart Dickson MLA, has said that SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell must speak out on his party’s position on the name of a Newry Play Park. Eight SDLP Councillors failed to attend a recent vote at Newry and Mourne Council where it was decided that the play park would continue to be named after IRA terrorist Raymond McCreesh.

The News Letter reported today that a new SDLP Councillor, Kate Loughran, on the Newry, Mourne and Down Super Council, has confirmed that she signed a petition to retain its name.

Stewart Dickson MLA said: “Alasdair McDonnell has been avoiding the media for over a week about the failure of eight of his councillors to attend a meeting where the vote was taken; thereby letting it pass in favour of the name being retained. He must publicly comment and clarify the SDLP’s position on this issue – do they support this play park being named after a terrorist or not?

“We have not had a valid explanation of why these eight councillors failed to attend this vote. I can understand if one or two were absent due to sickness, but for eight not to attend perhaps indicates a clear intention to avoid the vote and defy their leader.

“And we now have an SDLP Councillor on the Super Council indicating that she signed a petition to retain this play park’s name.

“Dr McDonnell did the honest thing last year and apologised for the actions of his councillors who supported the retention of the play park’s name in 2012. Alas that is now a hollow apology that is totally meaningless.

“It was claimed last week that Dr McDonnell was on a plane and could not be reached for comment. Well, he can’t avoid these serious questions any more.”


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