Following an open public appointment competition, Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, has appointed five new Members to the Historic Buildings Council (HBC) with effect from 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2025:
- Mr Kyle Leyden
- Dr Donal McAnallen
- Mr Liam McKinley
- Dr Wills McNeilly
- Mrs Carol Ramsey
The Minister has also appointed six new Members to the Historic Monuments Council (HMC) with effect from 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2027:
- Dr Liam Campbell
- Ms Alice Devlin
- Dr Patrick Gleeson
- Mr Ciaran Lavelle
- Mr Niall McCaughan
- Dr Cormac McSparron
Both Councils are Advisory Non-Departmental Public Bodies sponsored by the Department for Communities. Each consists of a Chair and up to 14 other Members who possess a range of interest and expertise on relevant matters.
HBC was established in 1974 and is currently constituted under Section 198 of the Planning Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. The aim of HBC is to provide independent advice to the Department on the listing of buildings, the general state of listed buildings and other matters relating to their preservation.
HMC was established in 1971 with the responsibilities of the Council principally laid out in Article 22 of the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objects (NI) Order 1995. The purpose of HMC is to advise the Department on the exercise of its powers under this Order.
Notes to editors:
- Member positions on both Councils are unpaid and receive expenses only. The time commitment for HBC is on average two days per month and HMC is on average one day per month.
- These appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland (CPANI) Code of Practice. 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, with detail provided in the below biographies.
- Biographical details of HBC Members:
Mr Kyle Leyden
A native of Cookstown, Mr Leyden was educated at Rainey Endowed School, Magherafelt before undertaking studies at Trinity College, Dublin; the Honorable Society of King’s Inns; the University of Oxford and the Courtauld Institute of Art. A barrister in the Irish and Northern Irish jurisdictions, he has recently completed a doctoral thesis at the Courtauld Institute centred on the intersection between architecture and politics in fashioning Irish national identity during the long eighteenth century. In addition to providing legal advice on planning, architectural heritage and tourism issues, he has worked with many of the major heritage bodies of the UK and Ireland on research, public engagement and tourism projects, including the National Trust, Somerset House Trust and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. He served as a Trustee and Director of Lissan House Trust in Cookstown, where he worked on the team tasked with funding, interpreting, promoting and opening the estate to the public. He has lectured in the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Notre Dame in London; the Courtauld; University College, London and has written on architectural history in a wide variety of publications, most recently as researcher and co-editor of Mark Girouard’s Dictionary of English Architecture. Mr Leyden has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Dr Donal McAnallen
Dr McAnallen is Library & Archives Manager for National Museums NI (NMNI) through which he evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills as chief custodian and public advocate for special collections. He has managed a number of projects to raise the library’s profile including the digitisation of collections and generation of new content for the NMNI website. He evidenced his provision of effective advice through his lead role in writing much of NMNI’s formal responses to the Expert Advisory Panels’ reports on Ulster-Scots and Irish. Dr McAnallen applied for HBC due to his local history experience. He is a committee member of the O'Neill Country Historical Society and Deputy Editor of the society's annual journal, in which he has had several articles published on local heritage themes. Dr McAnallen has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Mr Liam McKinley
Mr McKinley worked for both the public and private sectors for up to 20 years on large scale capital infrastructure projects. He previously worked as a Local Authority Manager with responsibility for the procurement of a capital project for the rebuild and refurbishment of up to 32 schools. Using his communication and interpersonal skills, he brought schools onboard though a comprehensive communications strategy. In a separate infrastructure procurement project, he evidenced the provision of effective advice in the delivery of a capital infrastructure project through his engagement with government departments, the delivery of governance arrangement and ensuring the project board set realistic timetables and budgets. Mr McKinley applied for HBC due to his local history experience. He has an interest in local areas, particularly around Dunluce Castle on the North Antrim Coast, with an understanding of how to engage people in local history. Mr McKinley has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Dr Wills McNeilly
Through his work as a Historic Buildings Curator, Dr McNeilly evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills in the building, restoration and re-works at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. Through engagement with local community groups he was able to resolve a number of long-standing issues, allowing them to become more involved. In this role, he also evidenced the provision of effective advice through research for specific maintenance or repair work that was required, to inform decisions thus allowing the site to retain its historical integrity. Dr McNeilly applied for HBC due to his vernacular buildings experience. He was awarded funding to conduct PhD research on vernacular buildings in the Mourne uplands, improving understanding of the Irish landscape. Dr McNeilly has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Mrs Carol Ramsey
Mrs Ramsey is a chartered Town Planner, through which she evidenced communication and interpersonal skills by bringing recommendations on a range of planning applications to Planning Committee in Council, and engaging with a range of stakeholders including the general public and government Departments. She evidenced providing effective advice through her interpretation/knowledge of planning law, case law and judgments, and her contribution to the formulation and interpretation of planning policy to achieve sustainable development and the development of strategic policies. Mrs Ramsey applied for HBC in relation to her planning experience. This covers processing and managing planning applications in rural and countryside settings, as well as working on major regeneration projects in Belfast. Mrs Ramsey has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
- HMC Members
Dr Liam Campbell
Dr Campbell evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills through his production of some 260 television programmes such as McGilloway’s Way and Lesser Spotted Ulster. Through this he developed communications skills by working with various stakeholders in the voluntary, statutory and other sectors. He evidenced providing effective advice through his work on a 50 essay volume work which served as a natural, historical and cultural atlas of Lough Neagh. This analysed unpublished work to provide effective advice and information to stakeholders on the future of Lough Neagh and the surrounding areas. Dr Campbell applied for HMC in relation to his heritage management experience as evidenced through his roles as Built and Cultural Heritage Officer at the Lough Neagh Landscape Project and as Heritage Officer at Foyle Civic Trust. Dr Campbell has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Ms Alice Devlin
Ms Devlin evidenced her communication and interpersonal skills through her role at Queen’s University Belfast which requires her regularly communicating with internal and external stakeholders (e.g. students, senior management, government departments and commercial sponsors). She oversees more than 200 student-led clubs and societies at the university, including sports groups, academic groups and charitable groups, and recently had to provide effective advice and guidance during the Covid pandemic. Ms Devlin applied for HMC in relation to her education experience. She has a personal interest in the monumental heritage and history of Northern Ireland and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies. Ms Devlin has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Dr Patrick Gleeson
Dr Gleeson evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills through his role as a lecturer in archaeology, communicating with groups of students, but also stakeholders across the industry and wider sector. He also has experience of public presentations, tours and specialist outreach activities in his research field. He has an established research record at a number of iconic sites and landscapes in Ireland through which he evidenced providing effective advice to local communities, statutory bodies and other stakeholders on the character of archaeology and heritage impacts at these sites. Dr Gleeson applied for HMC in relation to his archaeological fieldwork experience. His geophysicist skills have provided him with considerable knowledge of the difficulties of defining monuments based on up-standing features, and an understanding of the complexities of designation and scheduling. Dr Gleeson has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Mr Ciaran Lavelle
Mr Lavelle evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills in his role of Head of Collections Services for National Museums NI when he brought together several departments to create one cohesive, strategically aligned team. This involved the development and communication of a joint sense of purpose. He has provided effective advice to a range of external stakeholders in the Northern Ireland heritage sector, and through close engagement with the Historic Environment Division has been able to act as a source of conservation and collections management knowledge, information and advice. Mr Lavelle applied for HMC in relation to his artefact conservation and curation experience. He has worked on and managed a number of national and international archaeological and historic conservation projects across the globe. Mr Lavelle has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Mr Niall McCaughan
Mr McCaughan evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills through his management experience in working in the creative sector for over 22 years. He has extensive experience in managing complex heritage buildings, transforming them and making them sustainable and relevant to their users. He was Chair of a steering committee made up of 11 different funders including government agencies, successfully overseeing the refurbishment of the award-winning historic Playhouse buildings, which he was also the CEO of. During this time he also headed the Playhouse’s successful campaign for the BBC landmark programme Restoration, bringing the historic buildings to the grand final in London. As well as now managing a museum which he has significantly upgraded, he is Chair of the Friends of the Derry Walls, as well as a member for over 40 years of The Glens of Antrim Historical Society. His interest in local history has extended to recently building the first website dedicated to celebrating the history and beauty of his home glen, Glenshesk in the Glens of Antrim, as well as maintaining a number of associated social media platforms. Mr McCaughan has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
Dr Cormac McSparron
Dr McSparron has directed a range of excavation projects from conception to publication, involving numerous stakeholders. He evidenced his communication and interpersonal skills through an example at the Centre for Community Archaeology excavation at the Iron Age earthworks at Dorsey, Co. Armagh, which he directed. He evidenced providing advice through various roles in Queen’s University Belfast. He also sits on the peer review panels of several journals, through which he reads submissions, assesses the quality of the research and its suitability for publication. Dr McSparron applied for HMC in relation to his archaeological fieldwork experience, having excavated many archaeological sites. In addition he has a record of publishing these excavations and research derived from them in peer reviewed journals. Dr McSparron has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years and holds no other public appointments.
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