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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 April 2007, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Parades appointment is 'helpful'
Sean Murray
Sean Murray has been appointed to the review
A republican appointed to a body reviewing parades in Northern Ireland has said he believes his role will improve community relations.

Sean Murray of the Springfield Residents Action Group was responding after the DUP criticised his role on the body as "potentially disastrous".

Nigel Dodds and Nelson McCausland issued a joint statement after the make-up of the body was revealed.

But Mr Murray said: "For the review to work all perspectives need aired."

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown is to head the Strategic Review of Parading, which begins work in May.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain revealed the composition of the new group.

However, Mr Dodds, MP, and Mr McCausland, an assembly member, said: "This appointment is neither appropriate, helpful or conducive to progress.

  • Sammy Douglas - Belfast Interface Group
  • Mervyn Gibson - Orange Order Chaplain Lodge of Ireland
  • Sean Murray - Springfield Residents' Group
  • Geraldine McAteer- West Belfast Partnership
  • Garvan O'Doherty - Londonderry businessman
  • Mervyn Rankin, former chief executive of Ballymena council
  • "The decision by Peter Hain to appoint Sean Murray has the potential to seriously undermine the review process in this crucial area. It shows a lack of sensitivity."

    Mr McCausland added that both he and Mr Dodds had been "amazed and appalled by the appointment".

    Mr McCausland also said it could have "damaging" implications for the Orange Order's contentious Whiterock parade in Belfast every June.

    However, Mr Murray said he could not see the "legitimacy" of their problems.

    He said his appointment was a "recognition of the work that goes on at grass roots level".

    "For the review panel to work, all perspectives need to be aired, all stakeholders need to be involved," he said.

    "I see my role as articulating the position of the residents' groups. There are people on that panel who are quite capable of articulating the viewpoints and perspectives of the Orange Order."

    The government promised an independent review of parading in the St Andrews Agreement last October.

    Lord Ashdown and his review team will aim to report to the government in 2008.

    The remit of the review team is to make recommendations on how parading can be taken forward in a way "consistent with the shared future objectives of respect, tolerance, responsible citizenship and promoting equality of opportunity and human rights".

    Nelson McCausland speaks to BBC NI's Gareth Gordon

    Ashdown to head parading review
    18 Apr 07 |  Northern Ireland

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