Dodgy references for Commission member

Don MacKay’s appointment to the Parade’s Commision was already controversial, as he’s a member of the Royal Black and Orange Institution.. but it’s even more so now. SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly has stated that, despite Mr MacKay citing her as a referee in his application to the Commission, she had never been approached by him to give a reference. The NIO’s response so far, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, appears to be an attempt to ignore the situation – as the PA report notes – “Appointments were made on the basis of the candidates successfully displaying competence across a range of areas. References were not sought for any of the candidates….” Hmm.. Kind of missing the point there guys..

  • slug

    So what?

    You don’t need a person’s consent cited them as a referee. Although its usually a good idea to run the idea past them. I have written references for person X without being asked by them. They just put my name down.

  • slug

    OK I have missed the point. She is complaining that she was not approached to give the reference. Fair enough although hardly earth-shattering. I have got jobs when not all my referees were approached.

  • Pete Baker


    She’s pointing out that MacKay didn’t approach her, nor did the NIO check the references given.

    Given the nature of the appointment to the Parade’s Commission, and in particular in relation to Don MacKay’s membership of the Royal Black and Orange Instituion, I’d have thought it would have been more than simply a good idea for that to have happened.


    I think she’s also making the point that had he asked her for a reference or if the NIO had checked it out, she would not have given him one.

  • slug

    You can always give a bad ref if you want to.

  • slug

    She might have given a bad ref but perhaps the NIO calculated that considering all the criteria, Mrs Kelly’s ref could not make a difference. Perhaps they got lots of other refs in.

  • Pete Baker

    Read the quote from the NIO spokesman, slug.

  • missfitz

    If they werent going to check references, why go to the bother of asking for them?
    I am minded of teacups and storms


  • finn69

    this thread is discussing references in terms of employment, i’m guessing mackays use of kelly as a reference was more as evidence of his cross community links, i suppose under the freedom of information act a journo could request all of mackays references and possibly an explanation as to why he is deemed the most appropiate person for the role.

  • Biffo

    Are there any representatives from Concerned Residents groups on the Parades Commission?

    If not there should be – it would a nice little earner for somebody at the least.

    There’s bound to be a few residents who can “display competence across a range of areas” -perhaps frying an egg without breaking the yoke.

    Also, if any did apply they could use Nelson Mandela and Bono as referees. That would add gravitas to their application forms.

    By the way, how would I go about being appointed to the Public Appointments Commission in order that I might regulate appointments to the Parades Commission.

  • gottalovenio

    I think the point is he has no referenes to check as the NIO has stated that they didnt check any.

    But if he used her name to show his ‘cross community acceptance’, and that in turn was shown to be not the case – i.e she doesn’t regard him as such – does that constitute false information on his application?

    In sticking her name on the form McKay meant an inference to be drawn which has been seen to not actually exist.

  • yerman

    I can understand why there seems to be some confusion as to the exact problem with Don McKay’s application. That’s because I heard Delores Kelly on the radio yesterday and I was more than a little confused as to what her exact gripe was.

    Fair enough he didnt ask her about putting her name in as a reference. However, had the NIO bothered their arse checking the references they would have found that out. The NIO dont seem too bothered about it and havent said that the reference or lack of makes any material difference to his application or suitability. They also said that the appointment was overseen by the Commissioner for public appointments. That seems like Government speak for “they couldnt give a s*it about the references”.

    However, where my problem with Delores lies is that she seemed to be making her objections not mainly on the reference issue but on the very fact that McKay is an Orangeman and how this was such a massive conflict of interest that he isnt suitable. Well, we knew that at the time and it was raised but what does that really have to do with the reference which was what she was supposedly on the radio complaining about.

    Anyway, being an Orangeman (and presumably pro-Orange parade) on the Parades Commission is no more of a conflict of interest than being a former SDLP MP (and presumably anti-Orange parade) on the Parades Commission.