Temporary Governing Body Chair appointed at North West Regional College

Date published: 31 May 2023

The Department for the Economy has appointed Professor Malachy Ó Néill as Temporary Chair of the Governing Body (GB) of North West Regional College.

Empty Boardroom
Public appointment

Professor Ó Néill’s appointment is effective from 1 June 2023 until either the appointment of a new permanent Chair, or the end of his second term on the Governing Body, whichever occurs first.

The appointment has been made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors: 

1. North West Regional College is one of the six further education colleges in Northern Ireland. Colleges are non-departmental public bodies of the Department for the Economy, which are established under the Further Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1997. The GB of a further education college is responsible for securing the efficient and effective management of the college, the provision of suitable further education to its students and determining the college’s strategic direction. In delivering college services, the GB takes into account the educational needs of the business sector and the local community.

2. Professor Ó Néill has been appointed from the reserve list of a Temporary Chair appointment process, regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI) which took place in 2022.

3. The post of GB Chair is remunerated at a rate of £20,000 per annum, plus travel and subsistence allowances, which are payable at Northern Ireland Civil Service rates, in respect of activities carried out whilst fulfilling their duties.

4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, CPANI requires the political activity of appointees (if any declared) to be published. Professor Ó Néill has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

5. Professor Malachy Ó Néill is Director of Regional Engagement at Ulster University and a member of the University Senate. He is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Academy and was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2019. Professor Ó Néill is a specialist in Irish Language and Literature and was awarded a personal Chair in Irish in 2020 having served as as the inaugural Head of School of Irish Language and Literature, 2012-17. Appointed Provost of the Magee Campus in 2016, Professor Ó Néill played a key role in various aspects of the expansion of HE provision in Derry, including the inception of a graduate-entry School of Medicine and the development of a range of key innovation projects through City Deal. He has also represented the University in the development of the North West Tertiary Education Cluster (since 2018), bringing together the work of the FE and HE partners in the cross-border North West city region. Professor Ó Néill is Principal Investigator (Northern Ireland) in the c.€4 million ‘Atlantic Futures’ research collaboration funded by the Shared Island programme. Professor Ó Néill completed his BA and PhD at Ulster University and was Head of Irish in St Mary’s Grammar School, Magherafelt, before returning to the University as Lecturer in Modern Irish in 2008. He was editor of the An tUltach journal (2008-10) and was appointed by the Irish Government as a member of the Review Board of the Irish Language Standard (published 2017). He enjoys close ties with the Donegal Gaeltacht and spent many years in Machaire Rabhartaigh and Gaoth Dobhair facilitating courses for teenagers and adult learners of Irish. Professor Ó Néill is in his second term as a member of the Irish Language and Celtic Studies Committee in the Royal Irish Academy. He is a member of the Armagh Diocesan Education Committee of CCMS (non-remunerated) and is a board member of both the Causeway and Derry Chambers of Commerce. Professor Ó Néill has been a member of the Governing Body of NWRC since June 2017 and is currently Chair of the Education Committee.

6. To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:

7. For media enquiries, please contact the DfE Press Office at pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk 

8. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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