Appointment of two Non-Executive (District Councillor) Members of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service

Date published: 04 April 2024

Health Minister, Robin Swann has announced the appointment of two Non-Executive Members to the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS).

Laura Devlin and Cathal Mallaghan have both been appointed as Non-Executive (District Councillor) Members. Their appointments will commence on 9 April 2024 and will end on a date not later than 8 April 2028.   

NIFRS Non-Executive Member positions require a time commitment of three days per month and attract a remuneration of £6,643 per annum. 

These appointments are made in accordance with the Code of Practice issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

NIFRS protects and serves the entire population of NI, an area of over 5,500 square miles providing them with a range of fire and rescue services. Under the 2006 Order, the Fire Safety Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010, and the Fire and Rescue Services (Emergencies) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011, NIFRS responds to fires, road traffic collisions and other emergencies including chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents, search and rescue incidents, serious flooding and serious transport incidents. A range of community engagement initiatives are provided to help reduce risk and keep people safe from the dangers of fire and other types of incidents that they respond to. NIFRS has 68 Fire Stations across NI utilising a variety of crewing models using Whole-time, On-Call and Volunteer Firefighters.

The Board of NIFRS comprises the Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, a Non-Executive Chair and 10 other Non-Executive Members (4 of whom are District Councillors) appointed by the Department.

Notes to editors: 

1. Councillor Laura Devlin has been a District Councillor on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council since 2013. She has been a member of the SDLP since 1999 and has worked for the party on a full-time basis for over 20 years. Councillor Devlin is the party’s Spokesperson on Tourism and Hospitality and the current Group Leader on Council. She served as Mayor in the first year of the Covid19 Pandemic. She also works for Colin McGrath MLA in South Down as his Constituency Manager.

2. Councillor Cathal Mallaghan is a Sinn Fein elected representative on the Mid Ulster Council, where he is the Group Leader, and he sits on the Council’s Environment and Planning Committees. Councillor Mallaghan is the Interim Chair of the Northern Local Commissioning Group. He currently holds one other Public Appointment with the Department for Communities as a Non-Executive (District Councillor) Member of NI Housing Executive. This role attracts a remuneration of £6,890 per annum, for a time commitment 12 days per year. He is also a director of a local agricultural company, and a former Member of the Libraries NI Board.

3. Appointments to NIFRS are made with the approval of the Department of Health.

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 the political activity of appointees to be published. Councillor Devlin has declared that she has undertaken political activity for the SDLP and Councillor Mallaghan has declared that he has undertaken political activity for Sinn Fein.

5. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by e-mail       

6. Follow us on X @healthdpt and LinkedIn Department of Health NI - LinkedIn

7. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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