Appointments to the Board of Sport Northern Ireland

Date published: 05 July 2024


Communities Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA, has appointed Gavin Boyd as the Vice-Chair to the Board of Sport NI from 1 June 2024 to 31 May 2028. Gavin has been a Sport NI Board Member since 1 August 2021 and has been Acting Vice-Chair from 28 August 2023 to 31 May 2024.

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In addition, Minister Lyons has appointed Gregory Irwin, Gary Lyons, Claire Moore and Stephen Reid as Sport NI Board Members from 1 June 2024 until 31 May 2028. Eoin McGarrity has also been appointed a Board Member from 1 July 2024 until 30 June 2028.


Sport NI was established in 1973 to develop sport and physical recreation in Northern Ireland, in line with the Recreation and Youth Service (NI) Order 1986 and is an Arm’s-Length Body of the Department for Communities (DfC). Its’ main objective is the furtherance of sport and physical activity in Northern Ireland.


The Northern Ireland Strategy for Sport and Physical Activity – ‘Active Living’ – sets out a vision of: ‘Lifelong involvement in sport and physical activity will deliver an active, healthy, resilient and inclusive society which recognises and values both participation and excellence.’


Notes to editors: 

  1. The Vice-Chair receives remuneration of £3,500 based on a commitment of at least 30 days per year. Board Member positions are unpaid and require a commitment of at least 24 days per year. All Board positions can claim reasonable travel and subsistence expenses.


  1. These appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland’s (CPA NI) Code of Practice. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, CPA NI requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Any relevant details are provided in the below biographies.


  1. Biographical Details:


  • Gavin Boyd (Vice-Chair): Mr Boyd is a qualified Chartered Accountant with experience of managing budgets within the private and public sectors. As the first Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Education Authority he designed and implemented the management and corporate governance structures for the new organisation accounting for a budget of £1.9bn and 43,000 staff. He is a former Director of the Cawoods Group, the largest fuel distributor in Northern Ireland. He is on the Governing Body of St Malachy’s College Belfast. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


  • Gregory Irwin (Member): Mr Irwin has led corporate functions across public sector organisations in Northern Ireland, the UK, Ireland and Australia for over 25 years. Currently the Utility Regulator’s Board Secretary, he shaped effective governance arrangements for the new organisation. At the Food Standards Agency and the NSW Food Authority he improved business services and created successful strategic stakeholder partnerships. Formerly a non-executive director with the HSC’s Business Services Organisation, he was inaugural chair of the Business and Development Committee. An avid supporter of community sport, he has been a member of Clogher Valley Rugby Club since its formation. A member of Ulster Rugby’s Management Committee since 2016, he currently chairs the Ulster Rugby Committee. He holds a public appointment as a Member of the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee (£3885.00 per annum).  He has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


  • Gary Lyons (Member): Mr Lyons is currently CEO of Talkterms, a specialist platform providing bespoke dispute resolution advice to a range of clients. He has a Law Degree and Masters in International Commercial Law and further accreditations in compliance risk management and corporate governance. He also has expert mediator and adjudicator skills including the art of dispute resolution. He has held many varied and high profile positions which enables him to bring vast experience to the board. Gary is a qualified cycling Ireland ride leader and a member of Titanic Quarter Cycling club in Belfast, a qualified Ulster Hockey coach and also a season ticket holder at Ulster Rugby. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


  • Claire Moore (Member): Mrs Moore is a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, and is responsible for its financial performance including management of the annual budget and financial projections. She is a former Member of the Governing Body of Stranmillis University College from 2014 to 2023. She was Chair its Audit and Risk Assurance Committee, gaining governance skills which she will bring to the Sport NI Board. Mrs Moore is also a former member of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) College Advisory Group from 2017 to 2019, representing the Finance sector. She does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


  • Stephen Reid (Member): Mr Reid retired in May 2024 as Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, a post which he had held for ten years, having worked for almost forty years in Local Government for six Northern Ireland Councils. A graduate of Loughborough University (Physical Education and Recreation Management), he has played rugby at various levels including for Ireland Under 18, Ulster at Under 23 level and club rugby at Collegians and Belfast Harlequins. Mr Reid is a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a Chartered Director and gained an MBA from Queen’s University Belfast. He is a former Chair of SOLACE (the Council Chief Executive Group). He brings experience working with a wide range of stakeholders, strategic planning, good governance and partnership working to the Board. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


  • Eoin McGarrity (Member):  Mr McGarrity is a qualified solicitor and is currently Head of Legal & Compliance, and a Director at Charterhouse Group, where he is responsible for risk management, governance, ESG and legal compliance. He has previously been a Governor of a local primary school where he chaired the Joint Consultative Committee. He brings a range of commercial, financial, and partnership working skills to the Board. He does not hold any other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.


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