The father of a UVF victim has told of his disgust that Stormont Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry has appointed PUP leader Billy Hutchinson to a top education post.
Last week it emerged that the convicted killer and Belfast City PUP councillor was appointed as one of the governors of the Northern Regional College (NRC).
The Northern Regional College is one of the six, large further education colleges across Northern Ireland and has campuses in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey.
In the 2013/14 academic year NRC had over 24,000 enrolments and employed an average of 647 full-time staff.
The News Letter attempted to speak to Mr Farry, but instead a spokesman from DEL issued a statement.
“This was a competition regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland and in accordance with the Code of Practice for Ministerial Public Appointments in Northern Ireland,” he said.
“All public appointments are made on merit, through a fair, consistent, and rigorous process exclusively based around set criteria. The minister is committed to upholding the highest standards in this regard. This includes acting impartially and the avoidance of discrimination on any ground.”
Speaking to the Sunday World, Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond Jnr was murdered by the UVF in 1998, said: “Once again the last thing the policy makers at Stormont take into consideration are the victims and their families.
“This man just appointed to a board which oversees the education of young people is a convicted double killer.”
An August 26 statement from the Department of Employment and Learning said the minister had appointed five new governors and reappointed one existing governor, whose first term of office had come to an end. The appointments took effect from August 1 and each is for a period of four years.
“The new governors are Mr Kevin Chambers, Mr Hugh Crossey, Mr William Hutchinson, Miss Yvonne Mallon and Mr William McCluggage,” the statement said. “The governor who is being reappointed for a second term is Dr David Lennox.”
The statement added that “all appointments are made on merit and political activity played no part in the selection process”.