Reappointment of two Non-Executive Members to the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Special Health & Social Care Agency

Date published: 13 January 2018

The Department of Health today announced the reappointment of two Non-Executive Members to the Northern Ireland Guardian Ad Litem Agency (NIGALA). The reappointment of one Legal Member, Mrs Gillian McGaughey and one Corporate Governance & Risk Management Member, Mr Frederick Smyth, will take effect from 13 January 2018 until 31 January 2020.

These appointments carry a time commitment of two days per month and attract an annual remuneration of £2,981 per annum.

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. Appointments:

    Mrs Gillian McGaughey BL LLB lives in Belfast. She 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 Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast and a Director of Belfast Cathedral Enterprises Limited. She holds no other public appointments.

    Mr Fred Smyth qualified with PWC Belfast. Fred is a fellow of the Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He has held senior management roles within Bank of Ireland for over 20 years and has extensive business and retail banking experience, including heading up Corporate, Business and Retail Units across Northern Ireland. Fred has assisted the full range of private and public sector businesses from start-ups to large corporates in managing and growing their business in both domestic and overseas markets. He is a former member of the Council of the NI Chamber of Commerce, and former Vice Chairman of Simon Community NI, the leading Charity for the Homeless.

  2. NIGALA was established under the Health & Personal Social Services Act (Special Agencies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990.  The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 established the general principle that the welfare of the child will be the Court’s paramount consideration in legal decisions involving children.  NIGALA’s Mission Statement is:

    ‘To advise the courts of children’s wishes and feelings and to independently represent and safeguard the interests of children in specified public law and adoption proceedings in Northern Ireland’.

    The Mission Statement expresses the core principles enshrined in Articles 3 and 60 of the Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995.

  3. These reappointments are made with the approval of the Department of Health.  There are no specific qualifications for appointment. 
  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. Mrs McGaughey and Mr Smyth have both declared that they have not engaged in any political activity in the last five years.
  5. For media enquiries please contact the Department of Health Press Office on 9052 0074 or email:  For out of hours please contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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