Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis appointed to Equality Commission

Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis has been appointed as an equality commssioner
Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis has been appointed as an equality commssioner
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Former PUP leader Dawn Purvis is one of six new appointments to the Equality Commission.

The commission protects against discrimination on grounds of age, disability, race, religion and political opinion, sex and sexual orientation.

Six new appointees have been made by Secretary of State Karen Bradley:

• Dawn Purvis: CEO of Victoria Housing Estates, former NI director for Marie Stopes and ex-leader of the PUP;

• Neil Anderson: NSPCC Northern Ireland chief;

• June Best: A retired head teacher, disability advocate;

• Theresa Donaldson: Former CEO at Craigavon Borough Council and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council;

• Stephen Matthews: CEO of disability charity, the Cedar Foundation;

• Katy Radford: Social anthropologist and member of Executive Council of NI Jewish Community.

Geraldine McGahey applied for and was appointed to the post of deputy chief commissioner, having been a commissioner since 2015. She is a former chief executive of Larne Borough Council and is currently a SOLACE gender champion and a Parades Commissioner.

Commissioners who have been reappointed are:

• Hazel Francey: Retired good relations manager for Belfast City Council;

• Joe McVey: Chief executive of Brain Injury Matters.

Chief Commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow said: “It’s a great pleasure to welcome new commissioners to work with us on the important task of promoting equality and challenging discrimination.

“I welcome the diversity of backgrounds, experiences and expertise that the new commissioners bring and look forward to working with them over the next three years.”

He also thanked outgoing commissioners for the commitment that they showed in championing equality.

Other remaining commissioners are Eileen Chan-Hu, Deborah Donnelly, Duane Farrell, Helen Ferguson, Jarlath Kearney and Robin Mullan.

Outgoing commissioners are Deputy Chief Commissioner Dr Lesley Carroll along with commissioners William Gamble, Judith Gillespie, Tom Hartley and David Rose.

The commission has been involved in several controversial cases. One was against Ashers Bakery in the ‘gay cake’ row, which it lost in a Supreme Court challenge last year.

It was also challenged after allowing Newry Mourne and Down District Council to name a playground after IRA man Raymond McCreesh, the council opting to sell the land.