“there will be a diversity of opinion on the contents of a Bill of Rights..”

Yesterday the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, MP, welcomed the recently re-appointed NI Human Rights Commission’s annual report on its activities and the spending, in full, of “its agreed
resource allocation of £1.59 million for 2007-08” – report in pdf file here. Although the report is already out of date on one of the Commission’s activities this year. Tomorrow, 10th Dec, the NIHRC will be presenting its advice to Government on a NI Bill of Rights – the implementation of which is one of the Commission’s stated strategic aims – following on from the disjointed recommendations of the NI Bill of Rights Forum. However, it appears that not all of the Commissioners support that advice..

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  • wild turkey

    ‘It is understood Lady Trimble and Mr Bell are barred from commenting ahead of tomorrow’s report launch.’

    … and uh just what is the NIHRCs ‘advice’ with respect to freedom of speech and expression?

  • Guppy

    NIHRC press statement

    9 December 2008

    The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will present its advice tomorrow (10 December) to Government on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. All Commissioners have signed up to having a Bill of Rights and the Government is committed to a public consultation on this issue.

    Chief Commissioner, Professor Monica McWilliams commented:

    “The Commission has taken great care to ensure that this advice on a Bill of Rights conforms fully to its mandate and I am pleased that all Commissioners contributed to this process. Of course there will be a diversity of opinion on the contents of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland but what is important is that all Commissioners agreed on having a Bill. The Commission looks forward to the launch of its final report tomorrow.”

  • patrick oreilly

    the bill of rights could be a good thing,but i caution all there is a bill of rights here in canada and it is overshadowed by the act of 1701 which has supramecy over the bill of rights. if you truly want a bill of rights to truly work then you will have to repeal the said act of 1701

  • graduate

    As with the Bill of Rights Froum, dissent was required from 3/10ths before it would be reconsidered. In ensuring equality of representaiton from civic and voluntary sector it was possible to skew the make up of both groups to ensure that the unionist community was not adequately represented and that the Trotskeyites who pass for the volunatary sector here could live out their adolsecent militant dreams in a way that wouldn’t be possible if they all had to get proper jobs instead of riding the very well-funded NI quango gravy train.

  • Jimmy Sands

    And why shouldn’t the legal profession have a stimulus package too?

  • About time.

  • Mark McGregor

    This is a demostration of one the DUP slept in on negotiations at St Andrews. The bill will rely on submissions by the NIHRC to the SoS that will then be put into law by Westminster. Unionism ended up a minor lobby group in the whole process with a voice that couldn’t outweigh shinners, Unions, churches and NGOs in the final reports.

  • Pete Baker

    That’s an interesting argument, Mark.

    But, leaving aside for the moment the contentious issue of what it covers and the unelected status of the majority of the groups you mention, surely the more robust a Bill of Rights the faster we can move away from the current mandatory model of administration and progress towards a voluntary coalition?

  • edward

    Sorry pete but I don’t see it the learning curve for unionists is too steep as they have never summited so far

  • Pete Baker

    Look again, edward.

  • edward

    At what pete? A belatedly forced coalition government that leads a nearly failed state with a 80 year legacy of undemocratic sectarian governance, which half the population wishes to return to?

  • RedMole


    What about the representitives of the business sector and the churches who sat on the forum – surely the trotskysts haven’t infiltrated that far?

    They must be everywhere….

  • ZoonPol

    Why seek a Bill of Rights when we have the Human Rights Act?