28/11/2001

Former bank chief heads up Parades Commission review

Former Ulster Bank chairman Sir George Quigley has been appointed by Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid to carry out the review of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.

The review of the parades commission, which makes decisions on whether controversial parades should be restricted, was promised by the government as part of a blueprint to break the political deadlock at the Weston Park negotiations in July.

In a BBC interview, Sir George said his work, which he hoped would be complete by next summer, would not be constrained by political considerations.

He said: "It will be a professional, honest, careful review and there will be no political content to it whatever. If that had not been the position, I would not have undertaken the task."

Commenting on the appointment, Dr Reid said: “I believe it is now timely to review the way in which the Parades Commission operates. I am delighted that George Quigley has agreed to take on this task.”

Sir George is charged with the task: “To review the operation of the Parades Commission, since it took its current form in February 1998, and the legislation under which it was established and to consider whether there are any changes which could promote further public confidence on all sides, respect for the rights of all and the peaceful resolution of disputes on parades.”

The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has welcomed Sir George’s appointment. In a statement they said: “We are confident that Sir George Quigley will be much more interested in working with those who have an obvious interest and we look forward to being able to present our views to him.”

The review report will go to the Secretary of State. Any recommendations for legislative change would not be implemented until after summer 2002. (AMcE)

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