Northern Ireland

Grandmother's legal action over park name adjourned

The playground was first named after Raymond McCreesh in 2001
Image caption The playground was first named after Raymond McCreesh in 2001

A Northern Ireland council and the Equality Commission are to contest a grandmother's legal action action over the naming of a playground after an IRA hunger striker.

The park, in Newry, is named after Raymond McCreesh, who died on hunger strike in prison in 1981.

The playground was first named after him in 2001.

However, controversy has continued to surround the park since councillors voted to retain the name in 2015.

Bea Worton is challenging that decision at Belfast's High Court.

The 88-year-old's son Kenneth was one of 10 people massacred by the IRA at Kingsmills, south Armagh, in 1976.

Ms Worton's legal team were due to begin judicial review proceedings against the Commission and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on Tuesday.

But the case has been put on hold, due to some of the lawyers involved having other commitments.

Image copyright other
Image caption Raymond McCreesh died on hunger strike in the Maze Prison in 1981

Seeking an adjournment on Monday, barrister Paul McLaughlin confirmed there will be legal arguments over the merits of the challenge.

He told Mr Justice Maguire: "The Worton case is one where leave [to apply for judicial review] will be opposed by the council, and also opposed by the Equality Commission."

David Scoffield QC, for Mrs Worton, said his client and possibly others were planning to attend court for the hearing.

Adjourned

However, the judge agreed to adjourn the hearing and urged all sides to come up with a new date.

Part of the case involves a claim that the council's naming process breached its own equality scheme and Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act.

Section 75 changed the practices of government and public authorities so that equality of opportunity and good relations are central to policy making and implementation.

The Equality Commission, according to the applicant, should have found against the local authority and referred the matter to the Secretary of State.

McCreesh, from Camlough in south Armagh, was captured in June 1976, reportedly in possession of a rifle used in the Kingsmill massacre five months earlier.

His convictions included attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, possession of firearms with intent to endanger life and IRA membership.

More on this story