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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 22:34 GMT
Ex-Orange leader on parades body
David Burrows
David Burrows was a former district master in Portadown
A former district master of the Orange Order in Portadown has been appointed to the Parades Commission.

David Burrows came to prominence during the Drumcree parade dispute but resigned from a senior post in the Order this year for personal reasons.

However, Mr Burrows still remains a member of the Orange Order.

In a joint statement, the loyal orders said they intended to engage with the government on the parades issue in the New Year.

The Orange Order, the Royal Black Institution and the Independent Loyal Orange Institution issued the statement following the announcement of new appointments to the commission.

The institutions said it was their intention to engage with the government and other stakeholders "in a positive way to enable a permanent resolution of the issues surrounding parades".

The new chairman of the commission has been named as Roger Poole, a trade unionist from England, who will lead a new team of six other commissioners.

Mr Poole is a former assistant general secretary of the Unison union.

He also 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 COHSI which formed Unison.

It is understood Mr Poole is already in Belfast preparing for his new role.

The Parades Commission rules on contentious marches

Donald MacKay, an Orangeman and former Ulster Unionist councillor on Craigavon Borough Council who is now a member of the DUP, 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.

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

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has challenged the new commissioners 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."

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey said many nationalists would be concerned at Mr Burrows' appointment.

"Mr Burrows has been to the forefront of the campaign to force an unwanted and unwelcome sectarian parade through the nationalist community in Portadown," he said.

Breandan MacCionnaith of the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition claimed the appointments lacked balance.

"One thing that is very striking is the lack of balance in the appointments to this commission," he said.

"Given that you have two members of the loyal orders, you have two people who are involved in District Policing Partnerships and no-one who can be said to be coming from any of the communities directly affected by contentious marches."

The UUP's Michael Copeland said appointing new members without changing the legislation would not assist in making the Pardes Commission any more acceptable.

"I'm reserving judgment on the make up of this new commission," he said.

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.

Parades body 'cannot solve issue'
07 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland
Policing parade trouble cost 3m
31 Oct 05 |  Northern Ireland
Drumcree parade passes peacefully
10 Jul 05 |  Northern Ireland
Officers injured as shots fired
10 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland
Whiterock march re-routing stands
08 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland

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