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Justice Minister appoints new Policing Board

Justice Minister David Ford has announced the make up of the reconstituted Northern Ireland Policing Board which comes into effect from today.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Minister of Justice, David Ford MLA

David Ford said “The Northern Ireland Policing Board performs a crucial role in holding the Chief Constable and his officers to account, ensuring that the PSNI is effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of the community.

“Effective policing has to be informed by the different voices across the entire community. The wide variety of background and experience represented by the political and independent members on this new Board will ensure that all interests are taken into account.”

The Board’s political members are:

  • Robin Newton MLA - DUP
  • Jonathan Craig MLA - DUP
  • Adrian McQuillan MLA - DUP
  • Ian McCrea MLA - DUP
  • Gerry Kelly MLA – Sinn Fein
  • Caitriona Ruane MLA – Sinn Fein
  • Pat Sheehan MLA – Sinn Fein
  • Ross Hussey MLA - UUP
  • Conall McDevitt MLA - SDLP
  • Trevor Lunn MLA – Alliance

Following a CPANI regulated public appointment competition for independent members David Ford has appointed the following Board members:

  • Anne Connolly
  • Ryan Feeney
  • Stuart MacDonnell
  • Gerry O’hEara
  • Joan O’Hagan
  • Brian Rea
  • Brian Rowntree
  • Michael Wardlow
  • Deborah Watters

David Ford added “I would like to pay tribute to all the former members of the Policing Board for the significant contribution they have made to policing in Northern Ireland and their personal commitment to the Board and its work.

“I have every confidence that the newly reconstituted Board will continue to take this important work forward at a time of both challenge and opportunity for the PSNI and the Board.”

Notes to Editors

The Northern Ireland Policing Board

  1. The Northern Ireland Policing Board is an independent public body established under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000. The primary function of the Board is to hold the Chief Constable and police service publicly to account. It has a key role in ensuring the provision of an effective, efficient, impartial and accountable police service, which will enjoy the support of all sections of the community.
  2. The Policing Board consists of 19 members, ten of whom are nominated from among members of the Northern Ireland Assembly – “the political members”, and nine being appointed by the Minister of Justice – “the independent members.”

    Appointment process
  3. The procedure for the appointment of independent members is compliant with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice. The independent appointments were made by the Minister of Justice taking account of his statutory duty under Part III of Schedule 1 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 to secure, as far as is practicable, that membership of the Board is representative of the community in Northern Ireland.
  4. The appointment of the ten MLA’s who will serve on the Policing Board follows an entirely different process as defined by the legislation and as such these appointments are not made in accordance with the CPANI Code of Practice.
  5. These appointments are made by the nominating officers of the political parties following the d’Hondt formula. The number of political members from each party on the Policing Board reflects party strength in the NI Assembly.
  6. The legislation determines that there shall be a chairman and vice-chairman of the Policing Board. Appointments to the office of chairman and vice-chairman are made by the Board from among its members, in accordance with the legislation and are not made in accordance with the CPANI Code of Practice.
  7. The appointment of all members will take place from 24 May 2011.

    Independent members
  8. The independent members of the Policing Board are appointed for a term of up to 4 years. Remuneration for an independent Board member is £19,437 per annum and the time commitment required is a minimum of 4 days per month.
  9. The appointment of all independent members is made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Details of the declaration by each appointee in relation to political activity are included below.

Brief summary of the independent members appointed


Anne Connolly has recently retired as the Director of Planning and Performance in Libraries Northern Ireland.  Through her role Anne obtained extensive senior management experience of leadership and corporate management in an organisation which is responsible for providing an important public service.

Political Activity – none declared


Ryan Feeney is currently a senior full-time Official with the Ulster Council Gaelic Athletic Association as Head of Community Development, Strategy and Public Affairs.  He is a former Teacher and previously served as President of St. Mary’s University College Student’s Union.  He holds Masters Degrees in Irish History, Politics and Law and Governance.  He has been employed by the Ulster Council GAA as a full time official since 2006.  He also served as a volunteer member of the Derry GAA Management Committee for 4 years.  He is currently a member of the Central GAA Inclusion and Integration Committee.  Ryan has experience of working in a large community based organisation.

Political Activity – none declared


Stuart MacDonnell is the NI Non-Executive Member of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellent (Department of Health) where he has oversight of monitoring and scrutiny of Health and Social Services Regulatory Bodies throughout the UK.  He had previously been the Chief Executive/Accountable Officer of the Northern Health and Social Services Board.  Mr MacDonnell has extensive experience from his current and previous roles in the performance management of the delivery of public services and of strategic planning.

Ministerial Appointment Held:  Council for Healthcare Department of Health  £7881pa

Political Activity – none declared


Gearoid (Gerry) O h’Eara is currently the Chief Executive of An Gaelaras an Irish language and cultural organisation which provides classes and courses to the public in Derry and throughout the North-West.  He has been actively involved in community politics for over 30 years.  He has an extensive record of voluntary service in the North West area.

As Acting Vice-Chair and Chair of the Corporate Policy Committee on the outgoing Policing Board, Gerry has a good understanding of the work of the Board and of its strategic direction.

Political Activity: Member of Sinn Fein


Joan O'Hagan's employment history has been primarily in the health sector, and she has been operating at board level since 1997, firstly as the Executive Director of Nursing and Community Health Services in Newry and Mourne HSS Trust, and more recently as the Director of Asthma UK Northern Ireland.  Joan has a particular interest and expertise in human resource management and human rights practices

Political Activity – none declared


Brian Rea worked for 35 years for Castlereagh College of Further and Higher Education holding various posts including Lecturer, Head of Department and Head of Faculty. He is a former chairman of the Northern Ireland Region of the Association for College Management. He is involved in voluntary work with a number of community and other welfare interest groups.  Mr Rea is currently Chair of Board of the Hanwood Trust and is a former Lay Magistrate. Brian is the outgoing Acting Chair of the NIPB and he will continue to bring a significant amount of experience of working with and behalf of communities including working closely with District Policing Partnerships.

Political Activity: former member of the DUP


Mr Rowntree is Chair of the Housing Executive and has previously been a member of a number of public bodies – at Chair and non-Executive Director level.  He is a non-executive member of Co-operation Ireland and has an executive background in taxation, finance, management development and strategic planning.

He has extensive Boardroom experience at all levels in the Public, Private and Third Sector and has both policy/strategic and operational experience at senior management level.  He has a keen interest in business effectiveness and efficiency measures and has experience of managing change in various environments with a keen emphasis on benefits to customers and stakeholders.

Other Ministerial Public Appointment Held: Chair NI Housing Executive. Remuneration: £40,300 pa

Political Activity: none declared


Michael Wardlow has been a freelance consultant since 2009 assisting organisations or groups nationally or internationally based working in the broad area of citizenship, cohesion, integration, peace building and reconciliation.  Prior to becoming self employed, Mr Wardlow was the Chief Executive Officer of the NI Council for Integrated Education.

He has a wide experience of working with young people at risk, the criminal justice system and working with organisations undergoing significant change.  As a former accounting officer and member of the audit committees of Queens University and PBNI, Michael brings with him an understanding of standards in public finance and accountability.

Other Ministerial Public Appointment Held: Board member and Vice Chair of Audit Committee, Probation Board NI £5,050 pa

Political activity: Former member of Alliance Party


Deborah Watters has been operating at Board level since 1997 in a range of organisations including the Criminology Department at Queens University Belfast.  She has been a member of the strategic tier of the Community Safety Partnership representing the District Policing Partnership where she contributed to the strategic direction of the organisation and has oversight of finances.  She is Assistant Director of Northern Ireland Alternatives, a community-based restorative justice programme operating at a grassroots level in the inner and Greater Belfast area.

Deborah has extensive experience of working in community based organisations and understanding community needs

Political Activity: none declared

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