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Parades watchdog on the lookout for a new chairperson and six commissioners

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Parades Commission chair Anne Henderson

Parades Commission chair Anne Henderson

Parades Commission chair Anne Henderson

The Parades Commission is seeking a new chairperson and six new commissioners to adjudicate on contentious marches in Northern Ireland.

The new chairperson will receive a fixed annual salary of £50,000, while members of the commission will each receive £22,000 per year.

The commission regulates public parades and processions, not just those by Orange lodges, but most others, including St Patrick's Day parades and the Gay Pride festival.

The current chair of the body, established in 1998 after the Drumcree stand-off, is accountant Anne Henderson.

The Northern Ireland Office called for applications in an advertisement published in today's Belfast Telegraph.

The official guidance says successful candidates will be "people who can command the confidence of all sides of the community in Northern Ireland, act in controversial situations, determine courses of action, assess the probability of future events and make clear and well-informed judgements".

Among the essential skills listed by the advert are:

  • An ability to take difficult but fair decisions in high-profile and controversial circumstances;
  • An ability to build relationships and broker consensus between senior stakeholders and opposing views;
  • An ability to demonstrate personal integrity, professional conduct and credibility, with an exceptional sense of propriety.

In the application documents, Secretary of State Brandon Lewis said: "We are seeking outstanding individuals who can make a real contribution to the commission's ongoing work and bring expertise and fresh thinking in the coming months and years.

"I will be looking to appoint individuals who can bring vision, influence and innovation to the roles"

The chairperson's expected time commitment is up to two days per week, and for members the commitment is one day per week, although that may increase during the marching season. The closing date for applications is October 2.

Belfast Telegraph