Villiers appoints new Equality Commissioners

Northern Ireland Office

March 27
16:00 2015

Rev Dr Lesley Carrolls appointment will take effect on 1 June 2015. She will replace Jane Morrice who is standing down after serving two full terms as Deputy Chief Commissioner.

Dr Deborah Donnelly, Judith Gillespie, William McKee, Robin Mullan, Joseph McVey and Hazel Francey will also take up office as Commissioners on 1 June and will replace Stella Burnside, Kit Chivers, Patricia Feeney, Charo Lanao-Madden, Norman Trotter and Murray Watt who are also standing down after serving two terms.

David Rose, Tom Hartley, William Gamble and Geraldine McGahey will take up appointments as Commissioners on 22 September 2015 when Anna Carragher, Lyn McBriar, Dermot Nesbitt and Peter Sheridan stand down.

Ms Villiers said:

The Equality Commission is an important part of the statutory framework to protect and promote equality for all in Northern Ireland. I am pleased to be able to announce these appointments to the Commission. I believe that the people I am appointing will bring valuable skills and experience to the Commission, building on the work of previous years, in furthering equality.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing Commissioners for their hard work during their seven years with the Commission and the positive achievements they have been able to deliver.


Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Equality Commission was established in 1999, as part of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. It took over the functions of the Fair Employment Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission, Council for Racial Equality and Northern Ireland Disability Council.

The Equality Commission is responsible for policing the Statutory Duty on all public authorities in Northern Ireland to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity across a range of areas including religion, political opinion, gender, race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and those with and without dependants.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is responsible under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 for making appointments to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

More information can be found on the Equality Commissions website

Terms of appointment

Appointments are made in line with Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments regulations.

The Deputy Chief Commissioner and 10 Commissioners will hold office for a term of three years on a part time basis.

The positions are part-time appointment.

The position of Deputy Chief Commissioner attracts a fixed remuneration of 10,000 per annum for a commitment of approximately four days a month and Commissioners receive 5,000 for a commitment of about two days a month.

Biography of Appointees

Rev Dr Lesley Carroll is a serving Presbyterian Minister. In addition to her Ministerial duties she is currently a member of the Roe House assessment team within Magahaberry prison and is a member of the Good Relations Partnership within Belfast City Council. Previously she was a member of the Commission for Victims and Survivors (2012-2014) as well as a member of a Consultative Lay Group.

Dr Deborah Donnelly is Director of her own consultancy firm Debbie Donnelly Independent Ltd, specialising in governance, corporate strategy, performance review, organisational change, equality, policy development and review, working within contentious political environments, and social and criminological research. Prior to this she was Deputy Chief Executive of the NI Policing Board (2006-2011).

Hazel Francey was the Good Relations Manager for Belfast City Council until she retired in March 2014. She has spent most of her working life in Belfast City Council and her previous roles included community development officer as well as holding senior roles in policy development, the councils corporate planning process, performance management and major public consultation surveys.

William Gamble is a private consultant specialising in equality and conflict resolution. He was formerly the Head of Good Relations & Reconciliation Division, OFMDFM (2004-2007). He was the Private Secretary to the then Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon during his tenure from 1998-2001. He is currently a Board member for the International Fund for Ireland and was previously a Board member of the Community Relations Council.

Judith Gillespie retired as Deputy Chief Constable of the Police Service for Northern Ireland in 2014. She had served as Deputy Chief Constable from 2009-2014 and prior to her retirement had been a serving Police Officer since 1982. Since her retirement from the PSNI she has been self-employed acting as an Independent Policing and Leadership Adviser.

Tom Hartley was formerly a Belfast City Councillor from 1993-2013 and was Lord Mayor of Belfast (2008-2009). Although now retired from active politics he has declared that he is still a member of Sinn Fein.

Geraldine McGahey is currently Chief Executive of Larne Borough Council; a position she will step down from on 1 April 2015 when the new district councils form. She has over 25 years experience of working in local government.

William McKee retired in September 2010 from a career in NHS leadership with 18 years continuous service as a Trust Chief Executive, most recently leading the Belfast HSC Trust. Mr McKee also served two terms as UK President of the Institute of Healthcare Management and was awarded Companionship. He was appointed CBE in the 2006 New Year Honours for services to healthcare in Northern Ireland

Joseph McVey is a managing partner of Blueprint Development Consultancy Ltd who specialise in business establishment, marketing and development of the company. He is also currently the Chair of Volunteer Now whose mission is to support and mentor volunteering in the community.

Robin Mullan is the Chief Executive of Peamount Healthcare, Newcastle, Co. Dublin. He was previously Director of Mullan Art Gallery (1998-2002) and Director of the National Lottery Charities Board for Northern Ireland (1995-1998). He was also Chief Executive of Disability Action Northern Ireland (1984-1993). He currently holds a number of public sector appointments including the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, Independent Assessor for the Commissioner for Public Appointments and Probation Board for Northern Ireland. He was formerly a member of the Equality Commission (1999-2003) and the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights (1996-1998).

David Rose is an independent consultant and trainer specialising in transitioning from conflict to peace. He has delivered programmes in numerous conflict regions including Afghanistan (2012-14), Nepal (2012/13), Algeria (2014), Bahrain (2014), Cambodia (2012), Indonesia (2007/8), West Bank/Gaza (2004/5), Lebanon (2005), Jordan (2005), and Bosnia (2003). He is also currently a Board member of the probation Board for Northern Ireland and was formerly deputy leader of the Progressive Unionist Party (2002-2006).

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.

As noted in the biographies, both Tom Hartley and David Rose have declared political activity in the past ten years.

OCPA Code of Practice

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

This appointment is made by the Secretary of State with regard to the equality provisions set out in section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 1 to the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998.

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