THE Northern Ireland Office is seeking new members for the Parades Commission.
Secretary of State Theresa Villiers announced on Friday that she is to start a public appointments process to recruit a new five-member panel to make determinations on parades.
The current panel’s tenure of post ends on New Year’s Eve, December 31 this year.
The Parades Commission is currently chaired by Peter Osborne who has come in for flak from unionists and loyalists for blocking Orange Order parades in north Belfast.
However, this date could be superseeded if the Haass talks chaired by US diplomat Richard Haass can come up with an agreed devolved system of making decisions on parades.
Said the Secretary of State: “The Haass talks provide a welcome opportunity to see if a devolved solution can be agreed for the adjudication of contentious parades.
“I am very supportive of that work and I hope that progress can be made. In the meantime, the Parades Commission will continue to be the body responsible for these matters.”
The positions will be advertised in the local press and on public appointments websites in the coming weeks.
Ms Villiers said she would be writing to the leaders of all the Northern Ireland political parties asking them to encourage suitable candidates from across the community to apply.