28 February 2006

Call for parades member to resign


An SDLP assembly member has called on an Orangeman on the Parades Commission to resign after it emerged he used her name as a reference without permission.

Donald McKay, a former UUP councillor, was appointed last November by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.

Ms Kelly said Mr McKay has written to her to apologise but she said Mr Hain had serious questions to answer.

"I'm amazed no-one in the Northern Ireland Office contacted me before he (Mr McKay) was appointed," she said.

"It doesn't make sense that a nationalist representative for Portadown, of all places, would nominate a member of the Orange Order to the Parades Commission when our positions on parades, sectarianism and the Drumcree march have been so far apart.

"Don Mackay's position on the commission is untenable and he should resign."

In response, the Northern Ireland Office said: "Appointments were made on the basis of candidates successfully displaying competence across a range of areas.

"References were not sought for any of the candidates and the appointment procedure was regulated by the office of the commissioner for public appointments."

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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