Lord Ashdown gets the parade chalice

Lord Ashdown has been appointed as the head of the parades review by the NIO.The other members of the review panel are:
Sammy Douglas, founder member of the Belfast Interface Group,

Mervyn Gibson, Deputy Grand Chaplin of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland,

Sean Murray, Springfield Residents Action Group,

Geraldine McAteer, Chief executive of West Belfast Partnership Board,

Garvan O’Doherty, Derry businessman who helped broker discussions between the Bogside Residents Group (BRG) and the Apprentice Boys of Derry and

Mervyn Rankin, former Chief Executive of Ballymena Borough Council

  • Resolve

    Who’ll be the first to complain that a [i]Paddy[/i] has been chosen? tick tock 😉

  • Yokel

    Paddy was chosen by London as an apparently compromise candidate.

    In their infinite wisdom they though, well he hung about in Prod County Down for a bit then was a marine..but he is called Paddy (which some people in NI take as an insult, Pat or Patrick only if you please).

  • smcgiff

    ‘but he is called Paddy’

    Oh I think he’s been called worse. Something that rhymes with Ashdown. 🙂

  • Yokel

    All in the past now smcgiff..all in the past…

  • jake

    so three provos balance three loyalists with ashdown the ‘sensible brit’ playing piggy in the middle – this is what the war was fought for, you know!

  • Shore Road Resident

    Garvan O’Doherty isn’t a provo.

  • Glen Taisie

    Heard the beard on TV complain about Ashdown’s army past.

    Yet ex OO,ex RBP, ex ABOD,ex RUC man Billy Leonard is ok.

  • jake

    shore road resident: oh yes he is!

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    Odd that people should pick up on the “Paddy” thing, given it’s not his real name, but rather a nickname which stuck (see this apparently accurate biog on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddy_Ashdown .) Raised in NI, one parent catholic, the other protestant, he’s about as close to a concerned and engaged neutral as you’re realistically likely to get…
    I also recall him coming out with one of the wisest observaions I ever heard a poliician make about NI… can’t find the exact quote, but the gist was “the simpler the suggested solution to the problems of NI, the more blood is likely to be spilt on the streets of Belfast if it’s implemented.” Whether that was a swipe at the like of Alan Clarke’s suggestion of “SAS – one night, a few hundred killings, job done” or a prediction of the complex nature of the GFA (and the onerous progress of its implementation) is hard to tell, but it was pretty much on the money…

  • Resolve

    Jamie Gargoyle

    You could hardly say I “[i]picked up[/i]” on the Paddy thing… I merely mentioned it in jest. I’m in full agreement with you as regards his unbiased neutrality. He;s a good man; should do a good job.

  • Rubicon

    I wish Paddy good luck. I know he’s fond of Ireland and hope this doesn’t put him off the place.

  • rapunsel

    “Heard the beard on TV complain about Ashdown’s army past.

    Yet ex OO,ex RBP, ex ABOD,ex RUC man Billy Leonard is ok.”

    I don’t think the beard was complaining about his army past per se but rather that he could not be seen as a neutral and non partisan individual given his previous military service here. Neither have I heard the beard or anyone else for that matter proposing that Billy Leonard chair the review of parades?


    When making accusations regarding whether or not named individuals are provos, we’d take you a lot more seriously if you came out in the open rather than hiding behind a pseudonym and make the same allegations.

  • IJP

    Of course he’s not “seen as neutral”.

    Is Nuala O’Loan seen as neutral? Bertha McDougall? Patricia Lewsley?

    He’ll not be “seen as neutral”, but he’ll be good at the job. (The same applies to some, but not all, of the other names I’ve mentioned!)

  • StarHound


    Would you care to provide any evidence for what you said about Garvan O Doherty?

    Perhaps you are calling anyone at all from a Nationalist/Catholic etc background a Provo.

  • Terracetoff

    Is it not strange that Grand Lodge can welcome the appointment of a reported member of the Army Council to thos body yet they refuse to allow their members to speak to residents groups linkd to SF? And was the DUP aware of the make up of the Review Team?

  • The Dubliner

    I have to admire Ashdown’s sense of public duty. That job ranks alongside proctologist and sewer worker in the desirability league.

  • darth rumsfeld

    hurrah for St Andrews and the DUP!!!!!

    in just over a decade we have gone from Father Oliver Crilly assessing parades (nice, old-fashioned Catholic) to Spike Murray (“concerned resident” with other interests known to be unpalatable to most parts of society).

    A small price to pay for Plug Poots to be.. a minister-pah!

  • ejh

    I have to admire Ashdown’s sense of public duty.

    Oh, for pity’s sake. He’s not short of money, he’ll be well paid for it and he’s got an enormous sense of his own importance.

  • Mal

    I read some years ago in the Guardian that Paddy Ashdown is the great great grandson of Daniel O’Connell (the Liberator). I contacted his office at Westminister and it was confirmed. An e-mail later from Paddy further confirmed it. WOnder what the Liberator would have made of his appointment.

  • assemblywatchman

    Adams’ reaction to this announcement was terrible – real juvenile stuff. It was as if the last month of developments had not actually happened. So Paddy Ashdown was a ‘Brit’ here over thirty years ago. So what? Gerry and his mates were blowing people up less than a decade ago.

    If Sean Murray is acceptable on this body – and i believe he may have been an, er, solider, in a past life then so too should Ashdown.

  • Many years ago I took exception (what’s new?) to something Ashdown said about NI and wrote to him to say so. To my surprise I received a relatively lengthy, and indeed civil, reply signed and (clearly also dictated) by Ashdown himself.

  • Dewi

    What’s with all the Mervyns ?? Statistically significant that there are two on the panel surely ?

  • Heard the beard on TV complain about Ashdown’s army past.

    The Shinners have been obsessed with this for years. I hosted Paddy at a meeting in QUB in 1996 or so and they Shinners picketed the meeting with posters saying “Paddy the Para-site” (nope, wrong regiment).

    I think they were a bit surprised when he ambled over for a chat with them.

    Get over it Shinners; youse are sharing power with Paisley these days FFS!

  • Glen Taisie

    I take it Spike no longer has any interest in injured former Irish League players?

  • David Ford

    Actually, Sammy, the Shinners at Queens were gobsmacked. Ashdown arrived at the building (with me) from the opposite side to the one they were facing and more or less tapped one on the shoulder to ask for a copy of the leaflet. It was handed over without comment.

    Paddy was surprised as he read it walking up the stairs, clearly unaware that he was personally responsible for, amongst other things, Bloody Sunday. Not only was he a Marine, not a para, but he was also not in NI at the time.