Alex Maskey is right to take the newly consitituted Parades Commission to task. As he rightly points out, it is disgraceful that there is no reprensative of a working class Republican or Nationalist community. Two members of the sectarian Orange Order have been given places on the board, yet no one from a residents' group has been selected. How can this possibly be justified as a balanced approach?! Of the 7 members, 2 are in the Orange Order and another 3 have been actively involved in the security services as part of the prison system or the PSNI DPPs.
The Daily Ireland reported today that the appointments may in fact breach official guidelines;
When appointing the new Parades Commission members, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) used guidelines laid out by the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
Contained in these guidelines are five main areas which the commissioner believes could lead to a conflict of interest.
These include “a relationship with another organisation that could lead to a split in loyalties” and “membership of some societies”.
Working class Nationalists have been ignored despite the fact that they are the ones who have to put up with the controversial parades. There are accusations flying about that the SDLP engaged in a dirty deal to exclude Republicans in exchanging for ensuring Joe Hendron, rejected by the voters of West Belfast in 2003, got his place on the party. Such grubby self-interest would not surprise. This body cannot claim to be representative of society in the north.