30 November 2005

Appointments made to parades body


The Parades Commission rules on contentious marches

A former trade unionist from England has been appointed as the new chairman of the Parades Commission.

Roger Poole is expected to be named on Thursday, along with six other new commissioners for the marching body.

David Burrows, the once prominent Portadown Orangeman, has also been named in the new line up, which also includes three women.

Mr Poole had a prominent role as a chief negotiator of the national ambulance strike of 1989 to 1990.

He was also a key player in the merger of trade unions NUPE and COSI which formed Unison.

It is understood Mr Poole, who served as assistant general secretary of Unison, is already in Belfast preparing for his new role.


Donald MacKay, who in the past stood as an Ulster Unionist for Craigavon Borough Council, has also been appointed, as has former SDLP MP Joe Hendron.

There was not a single woman on the outgoing Parades Commission, however, Ann Monaghan, who once stood for the Women's Coalition, Vilma Patterson and Alison Scott-McKinley have been appointed to the body.

All of the new appointments will take up their posts in January.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has challenged the new commisioners to "make contentious parades a thing of the past".

"I am appointing this commission with a mandate to work itself out of a job by helping to create an environment in which accommodations on parades can be made between the two communities without the need for formal determinations," he said.

"I am confident that Roger's down to earth approach and willingness to engage with people will help move parades towards a new era and that he will be ably supported by the rest of the commission."

The Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on whether or not restrictions should be imposed on controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching season.

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