Not a Unionist (Commissioner) about the place?

The appointment of former RTE DG Bob Collins as NI’s Equality Commissioner has caused something of a political storm, coming as it does on the heels of a decision to appoint another non-Unionist Professor Monica McWilliams as Human Rights Commissioner. Dan McGinn was one of the first to interview Collins, who is keen that people should not judge him by his general background alone.

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

The incoming head of Northern Ireland’s Equality Commission tonight insisted he was coming to the role with an open mind despite unionist concerns about him.

Following criticism of the Government’s appointment of the former director general of the Irish Republic’s state broadcaster RTE, Co Kerry-born Bob Collins urged unionist and nationalist politicians to make no assumptions about him as he prepared to take over the job. Democratic Unionist MPs Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell and Ulster Unionist equality spokesman Dermot Nesbitt queried his suitability for the post.

But in his first interview since his appointment, Mr Collins, who was in Turkey for his son’s wedding, told the Press Association: “My message to unionist and nationalist politicians is wait and see. Do not make any assumptions about me on the basis of where I come from. I see the role of the commission as addressing the needs of the entire community in Northern Ireland, the real concerns of citizens and communities and not to address issues on a sectional basis. I am open to having conversations with everybody and will be completely
open and objective.”

The new Equality Commission chief was born in Killarney in the Irish
Republic and grew up in Adare, Co Limerick. He served as the director general of RTE between 1997 and 2003 when he stepped down to pursue other interests. Mr Collins had been with the company since 1975 where he served in a number of roles including director of television and director of corporate affairs. The new chief commissioner succeeds Dame Joan Harbison who steps down in July.

Nationalist and unionist politicians in the province have been critical of the commission, claiming it has failed to address their constituents’ concerns. Mr Collins’ appointment by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain angered Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson who said after the recent appointment of former Women’s Coalition MLA Monica McWilliams as the head of the Human Rights Commission, it was a further sleight against the unionist
community.

“At a time when the Government should be encouraging greater engagement from unionists with bodies such as the Human Rights and Equality Commissions they are appointing people that are not likely to command the confidence of the majority community in Northern Ireland,” the East Belfast MP complained.

“This perverse strategy is not only likely to antagonise unionists but will merely increase their sense of alienation with such bodies. We now have a situation in the province where the chief commissioners for neither the Human Rights nor Equality Commission have a background in the unionist community. With the latest appointments, the Equality Commission will have an uphill task to persuade unionists that it is serious about tackling their concerns.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Dermot Nesbitt said: “The new Chief Commissioner I do not know and I bear him no personal ill will, but I am bound to say that this appointment, together with recent appointments to the Human Rights Commission, does not at first impression engender confidence from the unionist community.

“I simply ask how is Mr Collins representative of the Northern Ireland community, coming from 30 years of working in Dublin and also continuing to hold three other public appointments in the Irish Republic?” Mr Collins insisted his background in RTE had given him the qualities needed to head the Equality Commission.

“I come to this post with experience of showing detachment and objectivity”, he said. “Much of my career was spent in public service broadcasting and I had to bring editorial objectivity to every issue I dealt with on a daily basis.

“I bring no baggage. I bring no preconceptions. What I do bring to this role is complete openness to the issues facing the Equality Commission and a commitment to work with other commissioners on
concerns expressed by whomsoever in Northern Ireland. I will meet with everybody including the political parties and other organisations.” Mr Collins paid tribute to his predecessor, saying he had considerable respect for her work as head of the commission.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain also appointed four new commissioners today. They include Professor Eithne McLaughlin of Queen’s University and CBI council member Bryan Johnston. He also appointed James Knox, a policy and research officer with the Rainbow Project which works with lesbians, gays and bisexuals, and retired hotelier and state registered nurse Elaine Waterson, who has previously served on the boards of the Housing Executive and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Mr Hain said Mr Collins was the right person to head the commission.
“A champion for equality throughout his career, Bob Collins brings to the commission not only valuable experience of running a high profile
organisation but also hands-on experience of making equality a reality,” he said.

“Together, these five new commissioners have the knowledge, practical skills and academic understanding to make a real contribution to the protection and promotion of equality in Northern Ireland. I am confident they will continue to enhance the commission’s pivotal role in advancing rights and protection for everyone in Northern Ireland.” Mr Hain also paid tribute to the work of Dame Joan and three outgoing commissioners, Ruth Lavery, Alan Henry and Ann Hope.

Mr Collins and the new commissioners were warned by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams they would be judged on how they fulfilled the objectives for equality in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Nationalist SDLP equality spokesperson Patricia Lewsley said the commission had a lot of challenges ahead of it, including tackling higher rates of unemployment in the Catholic community, lower pay among women and hate crimes against ethnic minorities, gays and lesbians.

Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell said the commission would also need to address disadvantages faced by members of the unionist community seeking work. Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Mr Collins had done an outstanding job as the director general of RTE, steering it through a period of change.

He continued: The Equality Commission is a key institution of the Good Friday Agreement. The appointment of Bob Collins as Chief Commissioner will ensure that its work to protect and promote equality is consolidated and advanced. The outgoing Chief Commissioner and commissioners are to be commended for their valuable contribution since the establishment of the commission. I wish those appointed today every success in their future work.”

  • Keith M

    It appears that Empey’s strategy to keep the rump UUP supporters on-side is to find a job for everyone with the party. Any suggestions for head of funny walks?

  • Keith M

    Sorry, wrong thread on my previous post.

    What exactly are Collins’ qualifications for this position?

  • irishman

    Mick- this title is a bit misleading.

    The two previous commission chiefs- Dickson and Harbinson- were both protestants and certainly not nationalists.

    The unionist gripe today is that the new chiefs are catholics- end of story.

    The DUP and UUP would like to return us all to the days when every senior post was held by a protestant unionist- just look at their lobbying for a more vociferous protestant unionist to take over from Des Rea as Police Board Chief.

    The more interesting feature over the past number of years has been the British governments willingness to alter the original composition of both bodies by appointing mostly professed unionists as commissioners- as it did so with the Parades Commission. Even David Trimble’s wife got in on the act!

    In a nutshell, this is about unionist leaders not wanting catholics about the place when it comes to senior positions in civil society- now, where have we heard that before???

  • Mick

    Irishman:

    I was trying to ginger an argument rather than be definative with the title. You don’t speak often, but it’s always interesting when you do.

    I’d only wish to quibble over one thing. That Dickson is Protestant is beyond question. That his particular ‘activist’ approach to Human Rights was welcomed by nationalists, and failed to gain substantial purchase with Unionists (from the most conservative to liberal), is also a matter of record.

    So I’m not sure it’s entirely accurate to dismiss substantive misgivings felt within the general body of Unionism over adopting a rights based approach “as not wanting catholics about the place”.

  • Alan

    “I come to this post with experience of showing detachment and objectivity”

    As Keith M says – what are the man’s qualifications? Does he have experience of legislation, legal proceedings, tribunal work or the development of mediation processes? We should be told. The last thing I want to see in an Equality Commissioner is detachment – I want to see them thoroughly involved in issues. As far as objectivity is concerned we can all claim what we will, but claims prove nothing.

    I’m also concerned that there does not appear to be anyone with a clear background in disability, which should be one of the commission’s core activities. It was understood that the current induction would recognise disability.

  • Bored

    Mick, you don’t understand, for someone of “Irishman’s” broad, tolerant and inclusive outlook, protestant = unionist, end of story.

  • Waitnsee

    Yep Mick, this is a non-issue.
    The more people from down south see what passes for an ‘equality’ complaint up here, the less likely a united Ireland.

  • aquifer

    More disgraceful sectarian whinging from elected members. Not British at All.

    I’m delighted that the Orange Integrationalist strategy of stall and see is being bypassed by the appointment of unelected commissioners ‘a la SDLP’. There has to be penalties attached to direct rule or the Unionists would sit on their arses or parade round the houses for ever.

    Having English and Scottish people ruling us is too Unionist and managerial for my taste. Tony needs to appoint some really random and radical ministers to get people negotiating to get regional self-government back. He can appoint whichever private individuals he fancies: female, young, black, gay, whatever. Have Bob Geldof or Sinead O’Connor got some free time?

    Civil Service business as usual at Stormont Castle hands the initiative to the headbangers, or should that be the banger heads. Pipe bombs are now a cross community enterprise, or should that be an enterprise for Oh never mind.

  • Niall

    I’ll pre-empt a lot of people by pointing out that the following is a classic case of whataboutry…. but can someone please list the qualifications of the out going …. Dame Joan, Ruth Lavery, Alan Henry and Ann Hope?

  • Wichser

    Redneck chancers squabbling over the religion of the, ahem, Head of the Equality Commission and the fact that he may not be quite prejudiced enough for their sectarian liking.

    We laugh that we do not weep.

    Welcome to Northern Ireland, a cold house for equality and humanity.

    Hey ho.

  • irishman

    Mick

    You’re right to point out Dickson’s background as being a bit of an anomaly, though nationalists gave up on Dickson a long time ago- certainly long before he decided to breach Commission protocol with regards to the Holy Cross case and the RUC Chief Constable.

    Personally, I had great hopes for the two rights-Commissions when first concieved as part of the Agreement. Since then, though, I’m afraid I’ve grown quite disillusioned with their utter impotence.

    Both bodies have been stuck in a quagmire probably caused by having too many chiefs and not enough indians.

    Recent threats and violence against ethnic minorities and homosexuals point to the need for a pro-active approach from the newly-appointed Commissioners- perhaps the Equality Commission could start by taking a case against Lisburn Council for its petty decision to refuse same-sex partnerships use of the same facilities as weddings? A small case, granted, but a good start nonetheless.

    But the Commissions will be judged on their ability to wrestle with the equality and rights issues which are at the core of our ‘troubles.’

    Equality in employment- for religion/ gender/ disability, parity of esteem, the right to live free from sectarian harassment and intimidation: all will need tackled by pro-active Commissions to avoid repeating the mistakes of their predecessors.

    Bored
    In relation to the points I’ve made on this thread, I’m simply responding to the DUP’s nakedly sectarian press statements by pointing out the obvious with respect to religious backgrounds.
    Unfortunately, in our society, religious and political affiliations go hand in hand. Would that we were back to the days of the United Irishmen….

    Alas, we are not. Perhaps Bored would prefer us to ignore this basic reality and presumably live in his fantasy world.

  • fair_deal

    1. This individual does not have an understanding or experience of the NI equality legislative framework.
    2. This individual does not have established working relationships with key sectors in NI. 3. He has played a key role in a broadcasting institution that has been persistently biased against one section of the community in NI.
    4. A major task for the EC is the Single Equality Act which will need a cross-party consensus if it is to get through any future assembly but his appointnment will have peeved off to of the key parties.
    5. The NIO played the same political games to please nationalism with the NIHRC and EC the last time and it turned out to be a mess.

    However never mind these rational points if a Unionist objects it can only be sectarianism.
    If nationalists gripe about a public appointment it is simply a deep-seated concern about equality, human rights and bias (although considering the representation on boards lately they have precious little to complain about).

    Nationalists unable to cope with Unionists having a rational basis for what they say so they resort to the pointless stereotyping of the Unionist community.

  • reality check

    Its as simple as this-The dup and their cahorts dont want any catholics in any senior jobs

  • fair_deal

    Thank you for proving my final point reality check

  • reality check

    so are you saying institutionised discrimination of catholics by the state before the civil rights movement was imagined by nationalists?

  • Brendan

    The man hasn’t even been in the job 5 minutes! Give him a chance and you might be surprised.

  • Wichser

    fair_deal

    1. How do you know and even if he doesn’t isn’t it possible he could acquire it ?!
    2. Again, any senior professional could achieve this – indeed he may be more objectoive in doing so and bring some new ideas to the table
    3. Try telling that to SF !
    4. So who do you suggest – a martian ? An orangeman ?
    5. Evidence ?

    Let’s not confuse opinion with fact here, at least not yet !

  • Alan

    It is interesting to see the announcement of Mr Roberts to the US Supreme Court and read Democrat Senator Charles Schumer’s comments .

    *It is vital that Judge Roberts answer a wide range of questions openly, honestly, and fully in the coming months.
    His views will affect a generation of Americans and it is his obligation during the nomination process to let the American people know those views.*

    When you compare that to the absence of comments about this appointment, it makes you wonder. Admittedly the US position is for life and the post-holder cannot be removed, so there’s a difference of scale. However, maybe it is time to add a public element to the appointments process.

  • JD

    “3. He has played a key role in a broadcasting institution that has been persistently biased against one section of the community in NI.”

    I agree, that section being republicans.

  • fair_deal

    Wischer

    “1. How do you know and even if he doesn’t isn’t it possible he could acquire it ?!”

    Simple look at his work experience. Acquiring it is a bit late when you have been given a very senior position responsible for it – I am not going to appointed chair of the Harbour Commissioners when I know damn all about harbours, shipping or whatever the hell it is they do. Also I would have thought that it is reasonable to require anyone seeking such a senior position on a public body to have a knowledge and experience of the issue. To gain it will involve time, time we do not have as the Single Equality Act is already years behind schedule.

    “2. Again, any senior professional could achieve this – indeed he may be more objective in doing so and bring some new ideas to the table”

    Not necessarily untrue but again this all takes time. A person with credibility already established could hit the ground running not have to spend months learning about the subject and trying to develop relationships. How can he bring new ideas with no experience in the field?

    “3. Try telling that to SF !”

    If the RTE did not fawn at the feet of the Provos so what. It does not change the anti-Unionist bias of RTE.

    4. So who do you suggest – a martian ? An orangeman ?

    Simple a person qualified for the job.
    A person with a knowledge of the NI legislative framework.
    A person with good and establishing working relationships with key sectors in NI.
    A person not responsible for an organisation that demonstrates a repeated bias against one section of the community.
    A knowledge of international practice in equality law would be a nice bonus too

    I have always found Brian Rowntree (formerly of the Probation Board) and now chair of the Housing Executive a highly effective chair in both those roles.

    5. “Evidence”

    The NIHRC had to appoint additional commissioners on top of the original ten to make up for an imbalance in the original membership (and they didn’t exactly rush themselves to do that). (Was Daphne Trimble a late appointment to the EC as well I can’t quite remember). The recent skewed appointments to the new NIHRC panel.

    On the wider issue of public appointments a report on NI Quangos highlighted among other groups e.g. women, a lack of representation from the DUP.

    Reality Check

    What?!? I’ve heard ‘out of left field’ but that one is a corker. My comments were solely on this appointment and nationalist response to Unionist criticism.

  • Wichser

    fair_deal

    This is naked prejudice I’m afraid, you know very little about the man or his abilities, as I say it is precisely this which may make him more objective. You have not produced any evidence that he wsn’t the best candidate for the role and you have produced none that RTE was/is biased against unionism. RTE for instance applied to the letter and far beyond the letter of the law Section 31 and notoriously purged ‘hush puppie’ suspected provo-supporter ie anyone assertively nationalist when the WP cadre were effectively determining editorial policy there during almost the whole of the 1980s.

  • Denny Boy

    “Its as simple as this-The dup and their cahorts dont want any catholics in any senior jobs”

    This is so true, reality check. The DUP are forever anxious to present themselves as anything but bigoted, but on occasion the masks slip.

    I recall Paisley’s memorable faux pas when two Catholics were given ministerial posts in the Assembly (remember the Assembly?): “They have handed over the education of your children from day one until they graduate from university to IRA/Sinn Fein and to the SDLP,” he bleated. “We will never rest until we rid this country of IRA/Sinn Fein and all other brands of terrorism.”

    Clearly Paisley regarded the SDLP as terrorists, and for all I know he still does. His party members being little more than extensions of his own warped psyche, it comes as no surprise that Peter Robinson and others denounced Collins’s appointment.

  • fair_deal

    Wischer

    He has no relevant experience – his experience is in BROADCASTING not equality issues. If he has a wealth of experience on equality issues I am unaware of feel free to provide it.

    “You have not produced any evidence that he wsn’t the best candidate for the role and you have produced none that RTE was/is biased against unionism”

    Now you ask the impossible. I don’t know the other candidates so how can i argue if he was better or worse than the others. If he was the best of the applicants I would have re-advertised.

    RTE

    A person who provides some of the best evidence for the WP control is Eoghan Harris. He also admits there was an anti-Unionist bias in 1970’s RTE broadcasting. He now also argues that the 1990’s saw the adoption of a pro-republican line from RTE. You can’t nit pick what he says about RTE.

    On the ban on interviews it was plain wrong, the right to free speech should not have been abridged.

  • reality check

    denny boy-glad to hear your praise.Remember when monica mcwilliams got her recent appointment?The newsletter and ian paisley junior blew a fuse because she was a catholic

  • fair_deal

    reality check

    Can you provide the relevant quotes please?

  • Ringo

    Fair_deal

    A person who provides some of the best evidence for the WP control is Eoghan Harris. He also admits there was an anti-Unionist bias in 1970’s RTE broadcasting. He now also argues that the 1990’s saw the adoption of a pro-republican line from RTE. You can’t nit pick what he says about RTE.

    Not quite as simple as that (never is…)
    there were two camps in RTE in the 70’s – one influencing News and the other influencing Current Affairs, with opposing agendas regarding the North.

    I’d be surprised if Bob Collins came with any political baggage – how qualified he is for the job is another matter.

    Think yourselves to be fortunate – at least he isn’t a hairdresser

    “TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern personally nominated his former partner Celia Larkin to the board of the new Consumer Agency only two weeks ago”

  • Niall

    fair_deal,
    as you seem familiar with the workings of the EC and it’s membership (or what should constitute it’s membership, in your opinion), may I ask again (originally, July 19, 2005 11:57 PM) *… can someone please list the qualifications of the out going …. Dame Joan, Ruth Lavery, Alan Henry and Ann Hope?*

    I hope they have numerous years experience in equality law, cross party consensus and never worked in an entity with a biased background (ref your post July 20, 2005 09:58 AM).

  • BogExile

    The real scandal here isn’t whether the appointments are catholic or protestant (I wish ‘competence’ was a registered religion sometimes). It’s more the utterly crazy proliferation of GFA Quangos with exorbitant budgets and largely unaccountable and dismally ineffective people running them. The sole purpose of half of them seems to be to satisfy a notion of equal and fair treatment which is out of all proportion with the majority of ordinary people’s experience.

    We don’t need any more bureaucratic, wonk inspired, ‘feel your pain’ human ‘rights constructs, we need straightforward accountability from elected representatives within a simple legislative framework.

  • fair_deal

    Niall

    1. The role of Chief Commissioner and a Commissioner are not the same. The Commissioners as a whole have to be reflective not each individual one, they can be representative of a sectional interest. While the Chief Commissioner needs to be above sectional interest.

    2. Joan Harbison’s profile –
    “Joan Harbison previously served as Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality for Northern Ireland. She has extensive experience of public and voluntary service in Northern Ireland, including having served on the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights (SACHR), and the Board of NI Association of Citizens’ Advice Bureaux.”

    She has clear experience of a previous equality body and on a human rights one too.

    Ann Hope’s profile –
    Ann Hope is Advisory Services Officer with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions with responsibility for gender equality and work on Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act, single equality legislation and the proposed Bill of Rights.An active trade unionist all her working life, Ann has held many positions at branch, regional and national levels and was President of Belfast and District Council of Trade Unions. She has served on several public bodies including the Equal Opportunities Commission for Northern Ireland of which she was Deputy Chair. She is also on the Board of the Women’s National Commission, the Government’s official independent advisory body on women.”

    She can bring a trade union perspective. She has worked on a previous forerunner of the EC.

    Alan Henry’s profile –

    “Alan Henry is a Civil Service Commissioner and a panel member for Industrial Tribunals.”

    Civil Service Commissioners are responsible for public recruitment policy so he brings that practical experience and persepective and from serving on Tribunals the perspective of those expected to enforce it.

    Ruth Lavery’s profile –
    “Ruth Lavery is a barrister and was formerly a senior lecturer in the School of Law at Queen’s University, specialising in Family Law. She is also part-time Chair of the Independent Appeal Tribunal.”

    She brings legal experience (a task of the EC is to draft the Single Equality Act after all) and tribunal experience.

  • Denny Boy

    “The sole purpose of half of them seems to be to satisfy a notion of equal and fair treatment which is out of all proportion with the majority of ordinary people’s experience.”

    I agree about the quangos, BogExile, but they are a necessary evil I’m afraid. Blame decades of unionist misrule of the province for their existence. The GFA had to demonstrate above all else that it was possible for NI to change from being the most undemocratic state in western Europe to something resembling a fair-minded and just community.

    This is why it’s risible that unionist politicians are making such critical noises now. Where were they 20, 30, 40 years ago when equality issues were far more relevant? Not a peep out of them.

  • Sean Fear

    I’m convinced that you’d be better off without this body altogether in Northern Ireland. Most social problems don’t have bureaucratic solutions, and trying to create the perfect politcally correct person through legislation won’t work.

  • Denny Boy

    Not sure I agree with you on legislation, Sean. Look at the situation here in Britain. We tolerated the mad imams and their poisonous preaching for too long, and got bombs as thanks. Now we have to legislate to keep them out.

    People who don’t hold with equality aren’t as a rule swayed by reasoned argument.

  • Denny Boy

    Sorry, old man, I mistook the Sean for your forename :0)

  • Wichser

    fair_deal

    You’ve answered your own question, you don’t know the relative merits of the candidate who won as you don’t know the other candiadtes and it seems like you don’t even know what the selection criteria were. Which, oddly enough, is precisely the problem a lot of candidates have when they claim they have been discriminated against have – they just don’t know.

    On the basis of that it’s right to ask legitimate questions but not to answer them – you don’t know the facts.

  • fair_deal

    Wischer

    1. I note you provide no information to demonstrate how he is qualified. Finding it difficult are you? All the NIO could get in their press statement was he was head of RTE when it developed its equality policy (which gives him the same degree of qualification as every other Chief Executive and manager in the UK and RoI hardly raising him head and shoulders over the competition) and he served on a European Board on equality in BROADCASTING. No legislative background on the issue. No particularly developed interest or knowledge in the field.
    2. I also note you have dropped the denial about RTE bias.
    3. I have the publicly available information in newspapers, the web searches I conducted and talked to my contacts in Dublin. He is experienced in broadcasting plain and simple.

    He has a cosy relationship with the southern political establishment – he serves on three public boards in the RoI and he has a close working relationship with two prominent republican Irish language activists through the Irish Language Forum he serves on.

    Republicans have always lay claim to the equality and human rights agendas as theirs (as a New Lodge republican once said to me when I raised the issue of equality and human rights “Those are for us not you”). Unionists demands for inclusion in these agendas made them jittery. The imbalanced appointments to the NIHRC and the appointment of Bob Collins and others to the EC is a goodie to calm their ‘poor’ nerves and get yet another PIRA statement.

    I’ve done my research and found the answers to the questions.

    Politics is why he has been appointed not knowledge, not skills nor experience.

  • Wichser

    fair_deal

    …..1. I note you provide no information to demonstrate how he is qualified.

    – Yes because I don’t know and wouldn’t seek to. I’m not supporting his appointment at all, merely calling into question your opposition to someone you don’t know on the basis, it would seem to me, of naked prejudice.

    ….. No particularly developed interest or knowledge in the field.

    – Again, where is your evidence for that ?

    ….2. I also note you have dropped the denial about RTE bias

    – No I haven’t. You’ve yet to give me any evidence of it other than to cite the politically chameleon Eoghan Harris.

    ……3. I have the publicly available information in newspapers, the web searches I conducted and talked to my contacts in Dublin. He is experienced in broadcasting plain and simple.

    – Not terribly persuasive research, is it ?! And the other candiadtes ? What were the selection criteria – do you know ?

    …..He has a cosy relationship with the southern political establishment – he serves on three public boards in the RoI and he has a close working relationship with two prominent republican Irish language activists through the Irish Language Forum he serves on.

    – which invalidates the merits of his application..how exactly ?!

    ……. Unionists demands for inclusion in these agendas made them jittery.

    – Yes because they are by and large not interested in true equality, Gregory Campbell is a fine example of this jitteriness, being as he is only interested in promoting Protestant employment and rights and in denial about discrimination against catholics within this state.

    …..The imbalanced appointments to the NIHRC and the appointment of Bob Collins and others to the EC is a goodie to calm their ‘poor’ nerves and get yet another PIRA statement

    – Your evidence for this is what ?

    Again, conjecture and opinion being presented as facts. Big difference, see.

  • Mick

    Wichser,

    You might get a lot further if you did do a little digging of your own and came up with some evidence to support your various assertions.

  • Wichser

    Mick

    I’m endeavouring to get fair_deal to support his arguments with facts rather than his somewhat colouful assumption-heavy analysis. I’m not saying he’s wrong necessarily in asserting that this is an overtly political appointment,of course, what I am saying is that in absence of evidence it can only be concluded that he’s manifestly prejudiced in relation to this guy’s appointment.

    I suppose you’re going to yellow/red card me now for playing the opinions the man (the ball), confusing that with playing the man. Ho hum and hey ho.

  • fair_deal

    Wischer

    You cited a WP bias in RTE. I provided a key source for that, Eoghan Harris. He makes a number of claims about bias at RTE. You cannot seek to back your argument saying one of his claims of bias is true but all the others are illegitimate.

    His role in RoI public bodies and his relationship with republicans is to demonstrate the POLITICAL nature of the appointment not his eligibility.

    In OFM/DFM’s review of the EC it stressed the importance of skills in appointing a new Chief Commissioner:
    “With regard to the post of Chief Commissioner the Review Team
    accepts that the responsibilities and functions of the post-holder have
    changed significantly over the past 5 years and also accepts that the
    ability and competence of the post-holder should be considered to be
    of more importance than the issue of full-time or part-time tenure.”

    The NIO website no longer provides access to the Information pack on the requirements of the Chief Commissioners post.

    “Yes because they are by and large not interested in true equality”

    Thank you for the standard bile. If a catholic or nationalist raises an complaint they are seeking equality, if it is a protestant or unionist raises a complaint it is because they want sectarian hegemony. A useless and sectarian caricature

  • Wichser

    fair-deal

    Well if youw ant to describe Gregory campbell that way that’s your issue, I’m not a nationalist incidentally. It is beyond argument or any reasonable assessment of the situation that mainstream unionism has anything other than a poor track record on genuine support for true equality within the northern state from its inception, in employment, in culture, you name it. There are individuals who make some of the right noises but to argue that unionist parties actively support and campaign for genuine equality collides with the reality.

    “His role in RoI public bodies and his relationship with republicans is to demonstrate the POLITICAL nature of the appointment not his eligibility” – what relationship with republians and how do you know what it is supposed to desmonstrate, if anything ?

    “You cannot seek to back your argument saying one of his claims of bias is true but all the others are illegitimate” – you haven’t made any others. I’ve been watching RTE for 30 years and consider myself a fairly discerning viewer. It is and almost always has been characterized by antipathy towards the north and the issue of the north in general if you ask me and has been more noticeably anti-republican than it has overty anti-unionist per se and that’s not a complaint, merely an observation. But hey, that’s not a fact, just my opinion.