6/10/2006

Turkeys to decide on Christmas menu?

I'm disappointed to learn that the Court of Appeal have decreed that the decision to appoint Orangemen to the Parades Commission was lawful. This overturns the judicial review decision in May which held that appointing Orangemen to the Commission without similar representation from Residents' Groups was illegal as it failed to represent both sides of the community.

In my opinion, the Court of Appeal have erred greatly in this 2-1 majority decision and it would not surprise me if a further appeal to the House of Lords reversed their decision. It is entirely ridiculous to suppose that a member of the Orange Order could possibly act in a fair and balanced manner when deciding upon contentious Orange parades.

Having an Orangeman on the Commission defies all logic. The Parades Commission should be an independent and impartial body which makes decisions with an open mind free of prior prejudice. The Commission should not have members from the Orange Order, nor indeed from any Residents' group. The public cannot reasonably have confidence that members of these organisations will approach their task without bias. The sooner Peter Hain realises this, the better.

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