Appointment of new members to Department of Education Non-Departmental Public Bodies

Date published: 09 December 2016

The Department of Education has announced the appointment of eight new members to its Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs).

The appointments to Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG); Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA); and the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools Diocesan Education Committees (DECs) were made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland. 

The eight appointments are as follows:

Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta

Ms Alison Sarah McCrudden is currently a self-employed freelance arts practitioner and was a company secretary, a board member and vice-chair of the Conway Education Centre, Chair of the Kabosh Theatre Company and a lecturer in the Belfast Metropolitan College.  Ms McCrudden will bring to the CnaG Board experience in promoting good governance and financial management. She has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta and Dromore DEC

Mr Gerard Patrick Adams is a retired school principal. He will bring to the CnaG Board experience of promoting good governance, managing risk and financial, project and staff management.  Mr Adams has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Council for the Curriculum. Examinations and Assessment

Mrs Carol Fitzsimons MBE is currently Chief Executive Officer of Young Enterprise NI. She is an Associate Lecturer in the Open University within the Faculty of Business and Law and is also a Scout Leader. Mrs Fitzsimons will bring to the Council experience of managing staff, operational delivery, developing strategic plans and financial and risk management. She is also a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Mrs Fitzsimons has declared that she has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Mrs Angela Mary Whiteside was a Northern Ireland Civil Servant within the former Department for Employment and Learning (DEL). She was also a former teacher and a member of the Education and Training Inspectorate.  She will bring to the Council experience in education and of promoting good governance, managing risk and strategic planning. Mrs Whiteside has declared that she has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Armagh DEC

Dr Malachy Francis Ó Néill was recently appointed provost of the Magee Campus of Ulster University.  He is also Head of the School of Irish Language and Literature at Ulster University and Senior Lecturer in Modern Irish. He serves on the Board of Governors of Gaelscoil Eoghain, Cookstown, and is Vice-Chairperson of Ardboe O’Donovan Rossa GAC.  He was also Chairperson of the Irish Medium Post-Primary Forum for the Northwest and a member of the Advisory Board for the Review of the Irish Language Standard for the Irish Government.  Dr Ó Néill will bring to the DEC experience of promoting good governance and of working collaboratively and constructively with stakeholders from various backgrounds.  Dr Ó Néill has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Mr Brian Quinn is currently a Senior Architect with the Education Authority. He is also Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Art and Architecture to the Irish Bishops Commission on the Liturgy and a member of the Finance and General purposes sub-committee of the Governing Board of the North West Regional College.  He brings to the DEC experience of promoting good governance and financial management and of setting the strategic direction of an organisation. Mr Quinn has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years.  He currently holds one other public appointment as a member of the Board of Governors of the North West Regional College for which he receives £2,000 per annum.

Derry DEC

Mr John James Dallat is formerly a Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and is currently Director of Kilrea Enterprise Group Ltd.  He will bring to the DEC extensive experience of promoting good governance and financial management through his roles as a former teacher, a local councillor and as an Assembly member, serving on various committees responsible for scrutinising spending by government departments. Mr Dallat has declared that during the last five years he has undertaken political activity, spoken, held office as an MLA, served as Deputy Speaker of the NI Assembly and canvassed on behalf of SDLP at elections. He does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Mr Stephen James Keown is currently Vice-Principal of St Mary’s College, Londonderry. He is a past committee member of Limavady Wolfhounds GAC, a past Society member of Limavady St Vincent de Paul Society and St Vincent de Paul Regional Youth Council. He also serves as an Associate Assessor with the Education Training Inspectorate (ETI). He will bring to the DEC experience of education, promoting good governance, strategic planning and of working collaboratively and constructively with other stakeholders.  Mr Keown has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years and does not currently hold any other public appointments.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta (CnaG) is an executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Department of Education (DE). CnaG’s role is to promote Irish-medium education and to perform a wide range of roles in facilitating the development of Irish-medium education in NI. The membership of the CnaG Board consists of 13 members including two members appointed by DE.
  2. The appointments will be effective from 5 December 2016 for a four year term.  Members are not remunerated but can claim travel and subsistence allowances.
  3. Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) is an executive NDPB sponsored by DE. CCEA’s role is to keep under review and provide advice on the three areas of curriculum, examinations and assessment. The Council’s membership comprises a Chairperson and 13 members all of whom are appointed by DE.
  4. The appointments will commence on 5 December 2016 and end on 25 October 2019. Members are not remunerated but can claim travel and subsistence allowances.
  5. Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) Diocesan Education Committees (DECs) CCMS is an executive NDPB sponsored by DE. A primary function of the Council is to provide the Catholic Maintained School sector with a unified voice in all matters relating to education policy and procedures. It also has a significant advisory and operational responsibility in supporting directly Boards of Governors and schools. CCMS is supported by DECs in each of the five Dioceses of Armagh, Clogher and Kilmore, Derry, Down and Connor and Dromore and which exercise many of the Council's operational and representational responsibilities. The membership of each DEC ranges from 8 to 18 members and there are 16 DE member posts across the 5 DECs.  Five vacant DE posts across 3 DECs will be filled through these appointments.
  6. The appointments will commence on 5 December 2016 and end on 29 November 2019. Members are not remunerated but can claim travel, subsistence and attendance allowances.
  7. All of these appointments have been made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.  All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, the Commissioner requires the political activity of appointees to be published. (See relevant details under each candidate’s name). 
  8. Media enquiries to the Department of Education’s Communications Team Tel: (028) 9127 9207.  Out of office hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 0762 397 4383 and your call will be returned.       

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