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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 15:57 GMT
Hain defends parades appointment
Donald MacKay is a member of the Orange Order
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has defended the appointment of an Orangeman to the Parades Commission after calls for his resignation.

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly called for Don MacKay to resign after it emerged he had supplied her name as a referee without consulting her.

In a letter to Ms Kelly, Mr Hain defended the appointment.

"I believe we have the best people to do the job and the Parades Commission has my full support," Mr Hain said.

"As you know, all appointments to the Parades Commission were made by me, taking into account the range of skills and experience that each member would bring to the commission.

"You asked specifically about Mr MacKay's appointment and I understand that he has now written to you to explain his personal position in including you as a referee.

"I hope that this has now provided you with clarification."

Mr MacKay, a former UUP councillor who is now in the DUP, was appointed last November by Mr Hain.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Mr Hain's defence of the appointment was not valid.

"It is not good enough for the secretary of state to stand back from this.

"The fact is that his officials made clear that they were impressed by the fact that Don MacKay had Dolores Kelly as a referee. That is why the appointment is invalid.

"This is not just between the SDLP and Don MacKay, it is also between the SDLP and Peter Hain. Don MacKay should resign."

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.

Call for parades member to resign
27 Feb 06 |  Northern Ireland
Orangemen talks 'breached policy'
18 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Commission to 'review procedures'
04 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Ex-Orange leader on parades body
30 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland

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