Extensions to the terms of two Non-Executive Members of the Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency

Date published: 07 March 2022

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced a 12 month extension to the terms of two Non-Executive Members of the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA).

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Mr Fred Smyth’s appointment as Non-Executive (Corporate Governance) Member and Mrs Gillian McGaughey’s appointment as Non-Executive (Legal) Member have each been extended from 1 February 2022 to a date not later than 31 January 2023.   

The Non-Executive Member positions within NIGALA attracts an annual remuneration of £4,004 with a time commitment of 30 days per annum.

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

NIGALA was established under the Health & Personal Social Services (Special Agencies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990.  The function of the Agency is to safeguard and promote the interests of children by providing independent social work advice in specified court proceedings and to provide effective representation of children's views and interests. At the heart of the Agency’s work is a commitment to provide a high quality, safe and effective service to all children and young people who are subject of public law and adoption proceedings.

The NIGALA Board is made up of the Chair, the Chief Executive and 4 Non-Executive Members.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Fred Smyth is an independent Business Consultant and a fellow of the Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He has held various senior management roles within Banking for over 20 years including heading up Corporate, Business and Retail Units across Northern Ireland and he has extensive business and financial experience. Fred has assisted the full range of private, public and third sector businesses from start-ups to corporates in growing their business. He is also currently a Non- Executive Member of the Board of Include Youth and a former Vice Chairman of Simon Community NI.
  2. Mrs Gillian McGaughey BL LLB is the Education and Training Officer for the Bar of Northern Ireland. Prior to taking up her current post Mrs McGaughey practised as a Barrister specialising in Family & Child Law and lectured at the Institute of Professional Legal Studies, QUB. Until 2016 she was the Chair of the Statutory Committee for the Pharmaceutical Society for Northern Ireland and a Legal Services Commissioner. Mrs McGaughey was a Stakeholder member of the NI Social Care Council from 2001 to 2013. She is a member of the Board of Governors of Belfast Royal Academy, the Board of Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast and a Director of Belfast Cathedral Enterprises Limited.
  3. Appointments to NIGALA are made with the approval of the Health Minister.
  4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published.  Both members declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  5. Both appointees have advised that they do not currently hold any other Ministerial Public Appointments.
  6. For media enquiries please contact DoH Press Office by email: pressoffice@health-ni.gov.uk
  7.  Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt
  8. 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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