Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The Secretary of State appoints new members to The Parades Commission for Northern Ireland [December 2023]

The press release issued by the Northern Ireland Office on 23 December 2023.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Right Honourable Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has announced the appointment of a new Chair and members to the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland.

The appointment of a new Chair, Evelyn Collins and of members, Derek Wilson, Billy Gamble,and Nicola Rountree will take effect on 1 January 2024. The new chair and members will join Joelle Black who will remain a member until her term of appointment ends on 31 March 2024.

A further two new members, Pauline Leeson and Rachel Quigley, will take up appointment with effect from 1 April 2024.

All appointments will be for three years.


The Parades Commission for Northern Ireland was established in 1997 and took on its full powers in 1998 through the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. The Commission operates as a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Northern Ireland Office.

Under the terms of the Act, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is responsible for making appointments to the Parades Commission. The appointments are made in accordance with paragraph 3 of Schedule 1 of the Act.

Further information on the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland can be found at:

Biography of Appointees

Professor Evelyn Collins CBE is the Chair of Board of Trustees of the Equal Rights Trust, Member of the National Statistician’s Inclusive Data Advisory Committee and UK Board of Trustees of the Abraham Initiatives. She formerly held the role of Chief Executive of the Equality Commission NI and the Equal Opportunities Commission NI. Evelyn is an Honorary Professor at the School of Law at Queens University.

Derek Wilson is currently serving as a Parades Commissioner and holds the position of Chair of the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency and Non- Executive Board Member and Chair of the Resources and Performance Committee, Northern Ireland Housing (NIHE) and Vice Chair and Human Resources and Finance Committee member of Co-ownership Housing Association.

Billy Gamble is currently serving as a Parades Commissioner and formerly held the positions of Equality Commissioner, member of the International Fund for Ireland and Equality Director in the Executive Office.

Nicola Rountree is a self-employed Barrister specialising in criminal and family law. She is a member of the Continuing Professional Development Committee.

Pauline Leeson is currently Chief Executive of Children in NI and a former Commissioner for Racial Equality NI. Pauline is an Independent member of Lisburn and Castlereagh Policing & Community Safety Partnership, non-executive member of Southern Health & Social Care Trust and independent member of the NI Housing Executive.

Rachel Quigley is currently a Principal Public Prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of NI. Rachel is a Solicitor of the Court of Judicature in NI.

Terms of appointment

These positions are part-time for a period of three years.

The position of Chair attracts a fixed annual remuneration of £50,000 and the member position receives a fixed annual remuneration of £22,000.

These positions are not pensionable.

Political Activity

All appointments are made on merit and with regards to the statutory requirements. Political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity in defined categories to be made public.

None of the appointees have declared any political activity in the past five years.


The appointment process has been regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointment (OCPA) and all stages of the process were overseen by an independent panel member.

Statutory Requirements

These appointments are made by the Secretary of State in accordance with the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.