Peter Robinson has launched an attack on the Equality Commission following a meeting with the body.
Mr Robinson said he was “appalled” that so few commission employees are Protestant, adding that he could not identify a single one of its 16 commissioners who would be “representative of mainstream unionism”. (List of commissioners here)
“It is outrageous that a mere 34 per cent of the staff of the Equality Commission is drawn from a Protestant community background,” he said. “Furthermore, if we look at the commissioners themselves, I cannot identify a single person who would share the views of the tens of thousands of people who vote for the main Unionist party in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Robinson said four new commissioners were to be appointed in September and he urged the Secretary of State Shaun Woodward to “fulfil his legal obligations” and address the commission’s “shameful past legacy”.
The commission has defended itself: In a statement it said that it had clearly and publicly stated that “we want a workforce whose composition more fully reflects the society in which we live.”
“As far as community background is concerned, the commission is doing everything that the law allows to increase successful applications from Protestants.
“That includes offering free, independent training on a religion-specific basis, exclusively for Protestants. This the first time that such a step has been taken by any employer in Northern Ireland.”