Appointment of a Trustee to the Board of Governors and three Members to the Management Committee of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Date published: 03 March 2021

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA, has appointed Mr Greg Cox as a Trustee to the Board of Governors of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP).

Public appointments to USEL
Public appointments to USEL

She has also appointed the following individuals as Members of the Management Committee of AOP:

  • Mr Paul Kennedy
  • Dr Kirstin Lemon
  • Mr Eugene Rooney


The appointments are effective from 1 March 2021 until 28 February 2026.


AOP is a special, historic and unique organisation, which over many decades has captured the public’s interest, enthusiasm and imagination in astronomy and science. It has played host to a range of high profile programmes and exhibitions, as well as providing a significant and extensive education programme which ranges from pre-school to adulthood, and to both a local and international audience.


The Planetarium itself is a major tourist attraction in Northern Ireland, and a key driver for the local economy, hosting a range of major celebrations including those linked to AOP’s own internationally recognised frontline scientific research.

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Trustee of the Board of Governors position requires a time commitment of at least three days per annum, with the Management Committee Member positions requiring a time commitment of at least twelve days per annum. The Trustee and Member positions are unpaid. However travel and subsistence allowances are payable in line with NI Civil Service rates.
  1. These appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice.
  1. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, CPANI requires political activity of appointees to be published as contained in their biographies:

Biographical details:

Mr Greg Cox –Trustee (Board of Governors)

Mr Cox is a solicitor and the Chief Executive of a law firm based across England and Wales. He has extensive experience of financial management, governance experience, capital raising and restructuring in a highly regulated sector. He brings added value to AOP with his distinctive combination of legal expertise and commercial management skills. Outside of his professional life, he has a lifelong interest in space exploration. Mr Cox does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Paul Kennedy – Member (Management Committee)

Mr Kennedy is a Civil Servant in the Department of Infrastructure, through which he has gained experience relating to complex financial transactions and sponsorship responsibilities for Arm’s-Length Bodies. He is a Chartered Accountant and has prior private sector experience, including building his own successful accountancy practice which covered areas such as corporate governance, internal audit and risk management. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Dr Kirstin Lemon – Member – (Management Committee)

Dr Lemon is a senior geoscientist and member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI). In this role, she has experience of promoting good governance, strategic planning and establishing goals and objectives. Within GSNI, she leads on communicating the impact of geoscience on society, and has developed a number of curriculum-based resources for primary and post-primary schools. She has extensive experience of partnership working from the international level through UNESCO, to the national and local level through various government departments, local councils, charities and non-government organisations. She has been a Boardroom Apprentice with AOP for the past year. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Mr Eugene Rooney – Member – (Management Committee)

Mr Rooney is a former Senior Civil Servant who has held a variety of senior positions in a number of Government Departments. He has extensive experience of governance and financial and performance management working with Departmental Arm’s-Length Bodies in economic development, health and education. His most recent roles were in the Department for the Economy with responsibilities for economic strategy, skills, further education, apprenticeships, youth training and tourism. He has also previously worked in the Departments of Health, Finance and Education, as well as the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

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