A problem with public appointments?

The case of Interim Victims Commissioner and objections to three of the Parades Commission has raised the issue of public appointments. However, the NIHRC and EC may have a few questions to answer too. NIWC members seem to be doing rather well and have a very disproportionate presence on both bodies. Is the statutory duty to that such bodies “as a group are representative of the community in Northern Ireland” being fulfilled? To overcome such problems is it time to adopt the Policing Board model for key institutions such as the Equality Commission?There have been 59 appointments (58 people as one person has served on both) made to the Equality and Human Rights Commissions. Among the 59 appointments 15 (25%) were of people with links to political parties. Of this 15, 7 had links to the NIWC, 3 to the SDLP, 2 to the UUP and 1 each linked to the DUP, SF and Alliance. So 12% of all appointments to these two bodies have went to NIWC members. At its most popular the NIWC gained 1.6% of the vote and at the last Assembly elections gained 0.8% so their representation on these bodies is 7.5 to 15 times greater than the support they attract. The only person appointed to both bodies was a member of the NIWC.

There are three senior positions on the NIHRC and EC, 2 Chief Commissioners and 1 Deputy Commissioner. Since their creation 6 people have been appointed to these senior positions, 2 of those 6 (33%) were members of the NIWC.

The appointments of people with political links are as follows:
NIWC – Annie Campbell (EC) Angela Hegarty (HRC) Bronagh Hinds (EC) Anne Hope (HRC & EC) Margaret Logue (EC) Monica McWilliams (HRC)
SDLP – Tom Donnelly (HRC) John Heron (EC) Eamon O’Neill (HRC)
UUP – Chris McGimpsey (HRC), Daphne Trimble (EC)
DUP – Jonathan Bell (HRC)
SF – Una Gillespie (EC)
Alliance – Geraldine Rice (HRC)

  • Cato

    According to the NIHRC website, Monica McWilliams was a member of the legislative assembly in 1996 which is an impressive claim which was alas impossible in fact.
    First we had false references, now we have false Curricula Vitae.

  • rapunsel

    Fair Deal– what exactly is the point you are trying to make here? The issue of appointments to the post of Interim Victims Comissioner and the Parades Commission are not directly comparable to the fact that former members of the Womens Coalition or any other party are members of te EC or the NIHRC. The substantive issue is that in the appointments to the post of IVC and PC the proper process regarding public appointments was not followed. Mrs Mc Dougall was not appointed on merit. I am not aware that she even applied for the job. As far as I know appointments to the NIHRC and EC were made following an open process of public appointment. It’s hardly surprising that political activists go for such roles and that members of a now defunct political party might seek out such roles in order to continue to have some influence. The question is is there any evidence that the proper process of appointment was not followed? I don’t see that you are providing any.

  • joeCanuck

    Fair Deal

    I have to agree with Rapunsel.
    I don’t have any idea what point you are trying to make (not that that is uncommon).
    Your use of the words “very disproportionate” seems to imply that you think that there is something wrong.
    Care to spell it out?

  • Fair Deal, you missed out on Women’s Coalition Belfast city council candidate Anne Monaghan – the Quango Queen.
    She sits on the Parades Commission and the Belfast District Policing Partnership. Last I saw her she was one of the spokespeople for the Anti-Rates campaign.

  • rapunsel


    I suspect Ms Monaghan as seeing the possibility of a band wagon and attempting to lead it. As far as I can remember the NIWC was a progressive party. Now Ms Monaghan is attempting to curry favour with the upper and middle classes in south belfast. Watch out for the next council election.

  • dpef

    Is there any indication the former NIWC members weren’t appointed on merit after a fair process?

    Are Unionists arguing for appointments to be made on some sort of community background basis?

    Isn’t this contrary to their position on policing recruitment?

    Funny..no not funny, I meant hypocritical.

    Any argument if it ensures more of your own?

  • fair_deal

    Rapunsel and Joe

    Simple the issue is about balance and representativeness. If people are concerned about the work of the IVC or PC being skewed because of the background of the Commissioners then the same questions and arguments apply to the NIHRC and EC.


    “Is there any indication the former NIWC members weren’t appointed on merit after a fair process?”

    1. People’s names did pop up in the media as the preferred candidate for particular jobs by nationalism.
    2. NIWC members are 15 times more qualified than any other section of the community?

    “Are Unionists arguing for appointments to be made on some sort of community background basis?”

    Err no, the statutory duty ie law says it has to be representative. Also as the stats show its not just Unionists that have grounds for complaint but SF too.

  • heck

    Fair deal

    I am seeing a patern here. This is the second time this has happened (the parades commission)and I am beginning to think the problem is not with Hain but with the civil servants at the NIO

  • fair_deal


    “but with the civil servants at the NIO”

    You may be on to something there

  • joeCanuck

    Fair Deal

    Surely the legislation requires appointees to be representative of their communities, not of political parties (correct me if I’m wrong).
    Are you saying that these women are not representative?

  • fair_deal


    The legislation requires that “as a group are representative of the community in Northern Ireland”

    1. More than 1 in 10 commissioners from one party that attracts less than 1 in 100 votes.
    2. 15 nominees have political ties, 46% to the NIWC. Is the NIWC twice more representative of society than the SDLP, three times more representative than the UUP and seven more times representative than the Alliance DUP and SF?

  • Ian

    “I am beginning to think the problem is not with Hain but with the civil servants at the NIO.”

    One of the SDLP’s demands during the time of the Comprehensive Agreement was that Irish nationals should be able to apply for senior positions in the northern civil service. It was part of the CA but the government have so far failed to bring forward the legislation to enact this. (The fact that the CA collapsed doesn’t explain it as, despite the collapse of the CA, they attempted to enact the on-the-runs legislation.)

    The commitment re-appeared it the StAA but it wasn’t mentioned in the Queens Speech last week. If the process comes to an end today then I wonder if the Government will renege again on the issue, and I wonder if that’s because the NI civil servants are running the show and they are reluctant to have some southern upstarts come in and start interfering with how they do things.

    See Trimble’s interesting HoL quote on the matter, which I reproduced in post 22 of the following thread:

    [a href=�http://URL]sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/fig-leaf-to-camouflage-the-almost-irreconcilable-elements-at-work/