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Serious concerns over Parades Commission appointments

1 November, 2005

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has criticised the process of appointments to the Parades Commission and said that it is essential that any new Parades Commission is fully representative of the Community.

Mr Maskey said:

" 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. 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. Any new Commission must be fully representative of the community if it is to command any level of confidence in its ability to carry out is function." ENDS

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