Hain defiant as appointments row grows

British Direct Ruler Peter Hain has been accused of wasting taxpayers’ money by appealing a High Court ruling which overturned his appointment of two Orangemen to the Parades Commission, which is supposed to adjudicate on parade routes.

There have been calls for Hain to resign over the matter, both for the overtly sectarian nature of his actions and his refusal to acknowledge his mistake.

Garvaghy Road residents’ spokesman Brendan MacCionnaith dismissed Mr Hain’s appeal as nothing more than a publicity stunt.

He said: “In appointing two Orangemen to the commission Mr Hain gave the loyal orders disproportionate representation and influence over parading decisions.

“His appeal against the court ruling is nothing more than a public relations move.”

Sinn Féin assembly member John O’Dowd said Hain needed to restore public confidence in the Parades Commission.

“What Peter Hain needs to do now is fill the two vacant positions on the commission with two genuinely independent people who can take these difficult decisions impartially and free from bias,” he said.

Hain suffered another setback this week when his appointment of of Victims’ Commissioner Bertha McDougall was also challenged in court.

The court of appeal in Belfast ruled he may have acted with “improper motive” when appointing an RUC widow as the new Victims’ Commissioner. The court granted leave for a judicial review of the decision.

* No restrictions have been placed on a Protestant flute Band parade on June 3 in the Suffolk area of west Belfast.

“The decision took account of the parade organiser’s commitment to ensuring a well marshalled and disciplined parade and a further commitment that the parade will finish promptly and no later than the notified time,” a spokesman for the Parades Commision said.

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© 2006 Irish Republican News