Extension of Appointments to the Board of Governors and the Management Committee of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium

Date published: 16 December 2019

The Department for Communities has extended the second terms of appointment of a Governor and two Management Committee members from 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2020.

All three have served Armagh Observatory and Planetarium since 1 January 2011.

·         Mr William Gregory Hamilton Berry (Governor)

·         Mr Richard Brett Hannam

·         Dr Michael McKay


Notes to editors: 


1. Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (AOP) is a statutory body as set out in the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (NI) Order 1995.

2. The Management Committee was established under Schedule 1 of the Armagh Observatory and Planetarium (NI) Order 1995 and the letter of 5 December 1984 from the Department of Education which requires the AOP to set up a Management Committee.

3. The Governor and Management Committee member positions are not remunerated but attract travel and subsistence allowances. Member posts require a commitment of up to four meetings per year.

4. The extensions to the terms of appointment have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for NI (CPA NI) Code of Practice.

5. 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.

6. Biographical details of appointees:

Mr William Gregory Hamilton Berry

Greg Berry has been a practicing member of the Bar of Northern Ireland since 1990 and a Queen’s Counsel since June 2006. He held the position of Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland from February 2008 to February 2010. During this time he was Chairman of the Library Committee and the Professional Conduct Committee of the Bar of Northern Ireland. He is a Trustee of the Pushkin Trust based in Baronscourt, Co Tyrone, the Chairman of the Keeper’s Council of Armagh Robinson Library and a Governor of the Royal School Armagh. He holds no other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the past five years.

Mr Richard Brett Hannam 

Brett Hannam has been Chief Executive of the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) since 2012, having joined the organisation as Chief Operating Officer in 2006. Prior to joining SIB, Brett worked in a variety of roles including as a Russian interpreter, Head of IT for a Whitehall department and Chief Executive of Northern Ireland’s Forensic Science Agency. He holds degrees from Oxford, the Open University and Queen’s University Belfast. He is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Institution of Civil Engineers. He is also a lay member of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal. In his spare time he enjoys writing and has published two books on the history of County Armagh. He holds no other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the past five years.

Dr Michael McKay 

Dr Michael McKay has worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) for 40 years and was ESA’s Senior Advisor on Mission Operations.  He has been involved in numerous space missions covering space science, astronomy and Earth observation. As Flight Operations Director, he led ESA’s first missions to Mars and the Moon before moving to the International Space Station operations. While heading the Strategic Planning Office he served on the Operations Directorate Management Team and finally headed the Ground Segment Engineering Department before retiring in 2019. During his career, Dr McKay has actively supported outreach and STEM initiatives across Europe and in Northern Ireland. He holds no other public appointments and has not undertaken any political activity in the past five years.

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