§ Mr. Race
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the withdrawal of the trade union representatives on the Northern Ireland Equal Opportunities Commission and the resignation of the entire legal section; and what steps he is taking to overcome these difficulties.
§ Mr. Rossi
Two members of the Commission, who were appointed after consultation with the Northern Ireland 437W committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, withdrew from the Commission's work in April 1979, on the instructions of that committee. Two members of the Commission's staff, who constituted its legal section, resigned in May 1979 following disagreements with senior management of the Commission and with the Commission itself about how the Commission dealt with complaints of unlawful discrimination.
Having met the chairman of the Commission, I met a deputation from the Northern Ireland committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on 24 July 1979 and promised to take its views fully into account in the reconstitution of the membership of the Commission. The Commission has agreed to restructure its legal section.
§ Mr. Race
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied that the present composition of the Northern Ireland Equal Opportunities Commission reflects the strength of working-class organisations, community groups and women's organisations; what steps he is taking to rectify this situation; and whether he will appoint a full-time chairman or chairwoman of the Commission.