23 May 2006

Hain to fight march body ruling


The government is to challenge a High Court ruling that its appointment of two members of the Orange Order to the Parades Commission was unlawful.

Last week the court said NI Secretary Peter Hain's appointment of David Burrows and Don MacKay did not ensure the body represented both communities.

Mr Hain said he would be appealing the decision within days.

"I will defend to the end the Northern Ireland Office appointments procedure," he said.

"It is impartial, subjective and follows all the rules.

"That is the reason why I will be announcing shortly that we will be appealing the judgment."

Last Friday, the High Court ruled that the appointments did not ensure membership of the body represented both sides of the community.

The case was brought to court by Joe Duffy, a resident of the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, who sought to overturn the appointment of Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay.

Orange Order

Both Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay were members of the Portadown Lodge of the Orange Order which has been at the centre of the decade-long dispute surrounding what has become known as the Drumcree parade.

Mr MacKay resigned from the commission earlier this month after it emerged he had listed DUP MP David Simpson and SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly as referees on his application form without asking their permission.

The Parades Commission was set up in by the government in 1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted.

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