Derry man on new Parades Commission

The former chairperson of the Bogside Residents Group has been appointed to the new Parades Commission by the secretary of state.

Robin Percival was appointed onto the reconstructed board which oversees parading in the North by Owen Patterson yesterday.

63 year-old Mr Percival, originally from England, has lived in the Bogside for many years and was centrally involved in the parading disputes of the mid to late 1990s.

As chairman of the Bogside Residents Group, he helped broker a deal with the Apprentice Boys, arranged through talks hosted by local businessmen, which has led to a resolution of parading in Derry.

Prior to the landmark agreement, the annual Apprentice Boys of Derry parade in August had often been the scene of violent clashes between rival groups.

He has worked in education for most of his life, including as a lecturer at the North West Regional College. He is also a writer and is currently working on his second novel.

The new Parades Commission will be chaired by Peter Osborne and will also include Reverend Brian Kennaway, a former senior Orangeman who fell out with the Orange Order over the parading issue.

Foyle Sinn Fin MLA Raymond McCartney said he hoped the new commission will be a departure from previous ones.

"By general consensus the last Parades Commission repeatedly made bad decisions and made decisions which caused a significant escalating of tensions in areas like Rasharkin and Ardoyne.

"The fact the none of the previous commissioners were reappointed speaks volumes of the lack of confidence people had in their work.

"This new Commission needs to ensure that it does not repeat these mistakes," he said.

Commenting on the appointments, the Secretary of State said: "I am sure these new commissioners will continue to work with local communities to ensure we do not see a repeat of the violence which occurred at a small number of parades during the summer past.