Irish Republican News · November 2, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Parades Commission accused of inequality

The British government has been accused of ignoring equality rules and being "manipulative" in its selection process for a post with the Parades Commission.

The body has the task of making determinations on the routes of contentious parades by the Protestant marching organisations in nationalist areas.

Briedge Gadd, a former head of the Probation Board, has claimed that she was unfairly dropped by the British government's Northern Ireland Office from the running for a post with the Parades Commission. Mrs Gadd is also a columnist for the nationalist Irish News.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex criticised the process of appointments and said that it was essential that any new Parades Commission is fully representative of the ommunity.

"Last week there were widespread concerns raised about the mechanism used to appoint the new Victims Commissioner and the suspicion that this appointment was being used as a political sop to the DUP," he said. "Evidence is now emerging that a similar approach is being taken by the British Secretary of State to the appointments to the Parades Commission.

"There are clearly serious flaws in the procedures followed for such public appointments. The procedures are not subject to equality proofing and are therefore open to the type of abuse and political bias evident in the appointments of the Victims Commissioner.

"There is now a real concern amongst republicans and nationalists that the NIO are manipulating the appointments procedure to the Parades Commission in order to load the body as part of further political pandering to the DUP.

"If this proves to be the case then the new Parades Commission will be fundamentally undermined in the eyes of nationalists before it even gets up and running."

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© 2005 Irish Republican News