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Lords ruling on Parades Commission appointments – ‘a damming indictment of the NIO’

30 January, 2008 - by John O'Dowd

Sinn Féin Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd has said that today's House of Lords ruling on the appointment of two Orange Order members to the Parades Commission by former British Secretary of State Peter Hain is a damming indictment of the of the malevolent interference of the NIO in the north of Ireland.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"This ruling that these appointments were improper and unlawful exposes the attempt by Peter Hain to politically interfere in the work of the Parades Commission by introducing a pro-Orange Order bias.

"It is a damming indictment of the NIO and its political agenda.

"The reality is that the NIO or certainly elements within it have never been comfortable with equal rights for nationalists and have at every twist and turn attempted to undermine the significant political progress that has been achieved in recent years.

"The response of the Parades Commission to these appointments was disappointing and did not help in building nationalist confidence that it was able to operate with the required level of impartiality and independence that is needed in dealing with the sensitive issue of contested parades. It now has to demonstrate, through its actions and determinations, that it will give full and proper respect to the rights of nationalists who do not want to have Orange marches forced through their communities." ENDS

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