Lay Members appointed to the NI Judicial Appointments Commission

Date published: 06 May 2020

The First Minister, the Rt. Hon. Arlene Foster, and the deputy First Minister, Michelle O’Neill, have appointed Ms Maureen Eccles, Mr Brian McTeggart and Mr Colm Donaghy as Lay Members to the NI Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC).

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The appointments are for a four year term from 1 May 2020 to 30 April 2024. 

Notes to editors: 

1. The Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission (NIJAC) was established on 15 June 2005 under the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 as amended by the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2004. On the devolution of policing and justice powers in April 2010 the remit of the Commission was further expanded and NIJAC is currently responsible for selecting and appointing, or recommending for appointment, applicants in respect of all listed judicial offices up to and including High Court Judge.

2. The Commission comprises a Chairman, who is the Lord Chief Justice, and 12 other members:

  • five Judicial Members;
  • two Legal Profession Members (a barrister nominated by the General Council of the Bar and a solicitor nominated by the Law Society); and
  • five Lay Members (Recruited by an open competition regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments NI.)

3. The Executive Office holds sponsorship responsibility for the Commission and the 2002 Act provides for the First Minister and deputy First Minister to appoint Commissioners.

4. Ms Maureen Eccles was involved in the field of education for over 30 years, until her recent retirement.  As a former teacher and school Principal, her experience extends across both the Nursery and Primary sectors.  In her role as Principal, she led with strategic vision, scrutinising performance and managing people, resources and finances.  She also has 25 years’ experience as a school Governor and is currently serving as a trustee on the Board of Governors of St. Patrick's Primary School, Holywood.

5. Mr Brian McTeggart has worked across the public sector, including 28 years at senior management level in the NI Civil Service and with the business sector. He has extensive experience of organisational set-up, development and change management. He spent 12 years in the NI Industrial Development Board, on international investment, indigenous industry and trade development and on economic strategy in Department for the Economy. He was tasked with establishing the Headquarters of the largest North/South Body, Waterways Ireland, including procurement of buildings and recruitment of key staff and was subsequently Director of Corporate Services, in charge of strategy, business planning, finance, property/legal and development. In later years, he was responsible for Investment Strategy NI across the culture, arts and leisure sectors and as Secretary to the Ulster Scots Academy, he led its development, a 10 year strategy and corporate planning. Currently Mr McTeggart runs a holiday property management business with sites in France and is a member of the NI Catholic Council on Social Affairs (NICCOSA), for which no fees are payable. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors, the Chartered Management Institute and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

6. Mr Colm Donaghy worked in the Health Service for 25 years and was a Chief Executive for 15 years from 2002 to 2017. In that time he led the development of the Northern Ireland Suicide Prevention Strategy - Protect Life. He was Director General of Co-operating and Working Together, 2003 to 2010, a collaborative coalition of public sector health service organisations north and south of the border. Mr Donaghy has held various Chief Executive posts in health service organisations including Southern Health and Social Services Board, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Health and Social Care Trust, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Sussex Partnership Foundation HSS Trust. He is currently a Non-Executive Director on the Board of the Simon Community Northern Ireland and carries out work for Northern Ireland Co-operation Overseas as a Technical Expert in the areas of healthcare development.

7. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Ms Eccles, Mr McTeggart and Mr Donaghy have not been engaged in any political activity in the last five years.

8. Remuneration will be made in accordance with the Commission’s fees schedule attracting a daily rate of £338.

9. Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office - Out of office hours, please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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