Board appointments to Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland

The following people have been appointed to the Board of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland.


Andrew Cooke

Andrew is the Safety, Health and Environment Director of GRAHAM, a privately owned company with a 200-year history specialising in Building, Civil Engineering, Interior Fit-Out, Facilities Management and Investments across the UK and Ireland.

He has worked with GRAHAM since 1991, and has held a various engineering, project management and central management roles in the company before taking up his current position in 2007. Andrew is also the Group Compliance Office under the Modern Slavery Act and leads the Safety Culture and Climate Programme. He is a Mental Health First Aider and Behavioural Safety coach.

Andrew holds degrees in both Law and Civil Engineering, as well as diploma and certificate level qualifications in law, risk management, and occupational health & safety. He is a member of both the International Institute of Risk & Safety Management, and the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and has been a guest speaker at numerous seminars for HSENI on both construction safety and behavioural safety.

Andrew also sits on the Civil Engineering Industrial Liaison Panel at Ulster University, is a founder member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (NI Region) H&S Group, and sits on JSAP (the Joint Standards Advisory Panel which advises on the standards for certification to Safe-T-Cert).

He was previously appointed as an Independent Member to the HSE (GB) Fee for Intervention Dispute Panel.

With a background as a Safety, Health & Environmental Director at a large construction company, Andrew brings expertise in governance and health & wellbeing to the role.

He does not hold any other public appointments.

Dr Patricia Hart

Pat was a Consultant Ophthalmologist in Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (RVH) for most of her medical career. She spent 7 years in Singapore as Visiting Consultant at both Singapore National University Hospital and Singapore National Eye Centre. During that time she also served on the SERI Project Advisory Board to create and develop the renowned Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI). On return to Northern Ireland in 1992 she was instrumental in establishing the NI Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, working extensively with a wide range of stakeholders.  She served as Director of Quality Assurance of that programme until 2014. Pat also served on The Advisory Board of the English Screening Programme until 2014. 

With a career a senior clinical consultant in the NHS, Pat brings excellent strategic management, governance and communication skills to the role.

She does not hold any other public appointments.

Catherine Irwin MBE

Catherine has extensive senior leadership experience in chemical and manufacturing industry, having worked for the DuPont Company for over 32 years. 

She gained a BEng in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast, is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), and Member of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (MIET).  Her career began with the DuPont Company at Maydown, Derry, as an Electrical Engineer before taking up her role as Site Safety, Health, Environmental Affairs and Security Manager, when she gained her Health & Safety qualifications, as well as a postgraduate certificate in Business Administration.  From 2000, she moved to senior leadership roles in across Europe, Middle East & Africa, before being assigned global responsibility for Reliability and Maintenance. 

Catherine was appointed as High Sheriff for County Fermanagh for 2021 (unremunerated), and she has held the position of Chair of the Board of Trustees for Girlguiding (UK) since 2018 (unremunerated, travel and subsistence expenses only).  She was awarded an MBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list for services to Girlguiding.

As a board member, Catherine will contribute effective strategic thinking and communication skills honed from her extensive experience in the private manufacturing sector.

She does not hold any other public appointments.

Simon McDowell

Simon McDowell has spent most of his career in a variety of roles at Kilwaughter Minerals Limited. He was the Managing Director from 2001 to 2019 and continues to sit on the board.

Simon holds the position of Chair of the Executive Committee for the Mineral Products Association Northern Ireland. He completed an Institute of Directors Diploma in Company Direction in 2014.

With a career in quarry and mineral processing, Simon brings expertise in the fields of strategic thinking and finance to the role. 

He does not hold any other public appointments.

Siobhán Rooney

Siobhán Rooney trained as a General Nurse, Midwife and Health Visitor and has worked in Acute, Community and Primary Care health and social care settings. Throughout her career she has held senior positions at Health and Social Care Trusts and Department of Health in Northern Ireland (NI). 

Siobhán has a MSc in Health Service management and is also an Associate Consultant with NI HSC Leadership Centre. She has also worked with the former Commission for Healthcare Improvement (CHI) and participated in health care reviews in England and Wales. 

She is currently an elected Trustee on the Motor Neurone Disease Association National Board, Chair of the MNDA Care Committee, MNDA NI Branch member, MNDA Association Visitor and member of the Northern Ireland Neurological Charities Alliance.

Siobhan has held several Board Chair and Non-Executive Director positions in the Statutory and Voluntary Sector and brings to her position an extensive knowledge of corporate and clinical and social care governance, risk management, patient safety, performance management and accountability systems within both health and social care and voluntary sector organisations.

With experience of implementing change following a clinical governance review, Siobhán brings expertise in change management and effective governance to the role.

She does not hold any other public appointments.

Gerry Strong

A former High School Principal, Gerry spent most of his professional career teaching in grammar schools, comprehensive schools and in technical colleges in England. For 3 years he worked for Manchester University as a Mentor for graduates studying for their Post Graduate Certification in Education.  Gerry also held the posts of Chief Examiner and Chief Moderator for the Northern Examination and Assessment Board (NEAB) for a period of 8 years.

In 1998 he returned home to Northern Ireland to take up the post of Principal of a High School in Omagh.  He took early retirement after 35 years in education in 2008.

In his retirement Gerry worked for eight years as a Non-Executive Board Director in the Business Services Organisation (BSO) serving on several internal committees and for three years in a voluntary capacity for a Cancer Charity, as the Governance Chair and Development Chair. He was also an Independent Assessor for four years with the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI (CPANI) and worked for two years for the Department of Justice Policing Board as their Independent Complaints Monitor in the appointment of Independent Members to Policing and Community Safety Partnerships and Community Safety Partnerships.

At present he is a Board Panel Member for the Department of Education’s Exceptional Circumstances Body (ECB) (remuneration £250 per day) and is a Lay Panel Board Member on the Police Misconduct/Disciplinary Panel (remuneration £250 per day).

Gerry brings extensive skills in the areas of human resources, communication, and change management to the board.

Back to top