Extension of appointments to the Historic Monuments Council

Date published: 17 August 2017

The term of appointment of the Chair of the Historic Monuments Council (HMC), Prof Gabriel Cooney, has been extended from 1 August 2017 until 31 January 2018. Prof Cooney has been Chair of the Council from 1 February 2009.

The following HMC Members have also had their terms of appointment extended for the same period:

  • Mr William Darby (previous term 01/02/12 – 31/07/17);
  • Miss Kate Laverty (previous term 01/02/12 – 31/07/17);
  • Mrs Sarah Witchell (previous term 01/02/12 to 3/07/17).

Notes to editors: 

  1. The HMC was first established in 1971 under the provisions of the Historic Monuments (Northern Ireland) Act 1971. Its current authority is derived from the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (Northern Ireland) Order 1995. Its roots rest in the Ancient Monuments Advisory Council 1926-1970. It is a statutory advisory council which provides advice to the Department of Communities on the exercise of its powers under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995. This includes the conservation and preservation of monuments in state care, scheduling of monuments, maritime archaeology, industrial and defence heritage, historic parks, gardens and demesnes and the identification of Areas of Significant Archaeological Interest in the context of Development Plans.
  2. The Chair and Members of HMC are not paid but are entitled to an allowance for travelling and other expenses including a subsistence allowance payable in line with current Civil Service rates.
  3. The appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland Code of Practice.
  4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires political activity of appointees to be published.
  5. Biographical details:
    Professor Cooney is Professor of Celtic Archaeology in the School of Archaeology, University College Dublin. His specialist area of archaeological research is the Neolithic period. He served as Head of School from 2008-11 and 2014-16. He is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. He served two terms (2005-15) as a member of the Heritage Council. He is a member of ICOMOS Ireland and an Expert Member of the International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management, ICOMOS. Professor Cooney is actively engaged in research and in the management, protection and presentation of the historic environment and brings a range of leadership skills and experience to the Historic Monuments Council. He has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years and holds no other public appointments.

    Mr Darby is a former chairman of the Joint Committee for Industrial Heritage, which is a joint committee of HMC and Historic Buildings Council (HBC). He has previously served on the HBC. He has extensive experience as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer working both in the UK and USA and has public sector experience at a senior level within the former Department of the Environment, particularly the Planning Service and Water Service. He is a retired member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management and of the British Institute of Management. He has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years and holds no other public appointments.

    Miss Laverty currently runs a community centre. She is an active member of the Ulster Archaeological Society, Group for Education in Museums, The Visitors Studies Group, The Museums and Galleries Heritage Group, Irish Museums Association and the Museum Computers Group and brings this experience to the Council. She also voluntarily delivers courses to local historical groups. She has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years and holds no other public appointments.

    Mrs Witchell is a qualified solicitor, and is currently a self-employed legal consultant and an expert on land law and conveyancing, having worked for many years in private practice, and brings these skills and experience to the Council. She is also a member of the Council of the Law Society of NI and a Board member of Habinteg Housing Association. She previously led a project on Land Law reform for the NI Law Commission and has worked at the Law Society of NI in a management position. She has not undertaken any political activity in the last 5 years and holds no other public appointments.

  6. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office on 028 9082 3516 or email: press.office@communities-ni.gov.uk.  Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383.
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