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Source: Scottish Independence Referendum

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Honourable Julian Smith MP, today announced that he has extended the appointment terms of existing members of the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland.

The appointment terms of specialist members Mr Alan Strong, Mr Andrew Wilson, Mr Brendan Kerr and Dr Bernie Lafferty have been extended until 30 June 2020.

The appointment terms of local council representative members Cllr Beth Adger, Cllr Bernice Swift, Cllr Billy Webb Mr Samuel Cole and Cllr Cadogan Enright have been extended until 31 May 2020.

Mr Jonathan McKee, Director of Rivers and Mr Angus Kerr, Director of Planning Policy within the Department for Infrastructure, have also been appointed by the Secretary of State to the Council as Departmental representatives and will remain on the Council until 1 December 2023 unless they leave their current DfI post before that date. All extensions and appointments commence on 2 December 2019.

The Secretary of State said: “My absolute priority is to get Stormont up and running. In the interim my responsibility is to ensure good governance and stable public services in the best interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

“I am therefore pleased to make these extensions and appointments so that the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland can continue its important role ensuring uniformity of drainage throughout NI.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. The Drainage Council is an independent advisory body, responsible for providing a general scrutiny role in relation to the Department for Infrastructure’s drainage functions. It has a statutory duty to ensure uniformity of treatment on drainage issues throughout Northern Ireland.
  2. The Drainage Council for Northern Ireland currently has a membership of 12 members, the appointment of the two DfI representatives will bring the membership to 14. There are currently four vacancies on the Drainage Council.
  3. Members of the Drainage Council can claim travel expenses reasonably incurred on Drainage Council business but receive no other remuneration for their work.
  4. All appointments are 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, which is included in the biographies below.
  5. Professor Alan Strong, MBE represents the drainage specialism. He is a Board Member of Methodist College Belfast and is a Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster. In his professional career, Professor Strong has conducted significant hydrological research and has led and designed flood prevention schemes. He conducted a comprehensive Review of the 2-15/16 Winter Flooding in Northern Ireland. Professor Strong has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.
  6. Mr Andrew Wilson represents agricultural interests. Mr Wilson is a full-time farmer in County Fermanagh. He is on the Board of the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) representing County Fermanagh and was the County Chairperson of UFU in Fermanagh. He currently represents the agricultural industry on the Lough Erne Liaison Committee. Mr Wilson has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.
  7. Mr Brendan Kerr represents fisheries interests. Mr Kerr is Vice-Chairperson of Ballycastle Angling Club and is a fully qualified Game Angling Instructor. Mr Kerr is a consultant with Natural Living Assets and has worked for Agri-Food and Bio-Sciences Institute (AFBI) on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Inland Fisheries Division. He has conducted electro-fishing surveys for AFBI and prepared water samples for chemical analysis on behalf of DAERA. Mr Kerr has declared that he has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.
  8. Dr Bernie Lafferty represents tourism interests. Dr Lafferty is an Environmental Scientist. Her background includes work as a researcher, involved in improving understanding of the effects of climate change and human activity on landscape/catchment dynamics using marine geophysical technologies. Dr Lafferty is also a consultant and contributes to and evaluates Environmental Impact Assessments, Environmental Impact Surveys and reports. Dr Lafferty has declared that she has not undertaken any political activity during the past five years.
  9. Mr Samuel Cole is the representative for Causeway Coast and Glens District Council. Mr Cole is a member of the Roe Angling Association and the Agivey Angling Association and brings a wide understanding of water management issues to Drainage Council. Mr Cole has declared that he has undertaken political activities for the Democratic Unionist Party during the past five years.
  10. Cllr Beth Adger is Deputy Mayor and representative for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council. Cllr Adger is Chair of the Board of Governors of Harryville Primary School. She demonstrates a sound understanding of flood risk management issues and is committed to supporting residents and advocating their needs at Drainage Council. Cllr Adger has declared that she has undertaken political activities for the Democratic Unionist Party during the past five years.
  11. Cllr Bernice Swift is the representative for Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and has been a District Councillor since 2005. Cllr Swift is a qualified Victims Practitioner and has been Director of Firinne, Enniskillen, since January 2004. She demonstrates a sound appreciation of flood risk management issues and makes a significant contribution to the Drainage Council. Cllr Swift has declared that she has undertaken political activities as an Independent Councillor during the past five years.
  12. Cllr Billy Webb is the representative for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Cllr Webb sits on the Rent Assessment Panel of the Department for Social Development and is a member of the Board of Governors of Whitehouse Primary School and St James Primary School Newtownabbey. Cllr Webb brings a wide range of experience and insight to Drainage Council business. He holds a Ministerial public appointment as a member of NI Rent Assessment Panel, remunerated at £107 per half day attended. He is also a member of Libraries NI, remunerated at £3,000 per year. Cllr Webb has declared that he has undertaken political activities for the Alliance Party during the past five years.
  13. Cllr Cadogan Enright is the representative for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Cllr Enright is a member of the South Eastern Health Trust Local Commissioning Group and the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership Board. Cllr Enright brings a consistent, thoughtful and insightful contribution to the working of Drainage Council. He is a member of NI Fire and Rescue Service Board, remunerated at £4,500 per year. Cllr Enright has declared that he has undertaken political activities as an Independent Councillor during the past five years.
  14. The extensions have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland’s Code of Practice. The Northern Ireland (Ministerial Appointment Functions) (No.2) Regulations 2019 came into force on 16 October, adding the Drainage Council to the table of specified offices under Article 5 of the NI (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 which provides for the Secretary of State to make and extend appointments to the Drainage Council.
  15. All media queries in relation to the Drainage Council should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or e-mail: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 90372110.

MIL OSI United Kingdom