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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 March 2006, 17:24 GMT
Appeal over board boycott threat
Professor Desmond Rea
Professor Desmond Rea said the UUP had contributed greatly
The chairman of the Policing Board has appealed to the Ulster Unionist party not to boycott the new 19-member board.

The government said independent members would outnumber politicians when the board convenes in April.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey warned that his party would boycott the body if it becomes "an unelected quango".

But Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said he did not want to contemplate that scenario. He said the UUP had "contributed greatly to the board.

Speaking to the BBC from Washington, he said he hoped the UUP would continue to do so.

He said speaking personally, it would be a matter of considerable regret if they did boycott the board.

On Monday, the Ulster Unionist Party said it would hold internal discussions on whether or not it will take places on the new board.

The DUP will have four members on the new body, while the UUP and the SDLP have both been given two places.

Former SDLP board member Joe Byrne has been given a place as an independent, while former board chairman Sir Desmond Rea remains on the new body.

The board's political membership will be Ian Paisley Jnr (DUP); William Hay (DUP); Arlene Foster (DUP); Peter Weir (DUP); Fred Cobain (UUP); Danny Kennedy (UUP); Alex Attwood (SDLP) and Dolores Kelly (SDLP).

The independent members are Sir Desmond Rea, Joe Byrne, Barry Gilligan, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, Suneil Sharma, Dawn Purvis, Brian Rea, Trevor Ringland, Brendan Duddy and Deirdre MacBride.

Sinn Fein did not make nominations for its two allocated places.

The party has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board and other institutions its support, insisting more legislation is needed before it can sign up.

The party said it needed to see more power transferred to local politicians before it would consider nominating representatives.

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