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Sport NI crisis: Who are the nine board members who've resigned?

Exclusive by Steven Beacom

Published 07/07/2015

Caral Ni Chuilin answers questions at a Stormont committee session
Caral Ni Chuilin answers questions at a Stormont committee session

The nine Sport NI board members who stunned the organisation by resigning last night include the Director of The Open University in Ireland, a Policy Manager with the Equality Commission, the Irish FA's former head of Communications and an Irish basketball legend, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

Their decision, which was made prior to a scheduled meeting with Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin to discuss a report into "serious allegations" about the "leadership, management and the overall culture" at the public funded body, means there are now just FIVE members left on the Sport NI board.

Read more: Sport NI in meltdown after nine board members resign after damning report  

It is possible that number could decrease in the near future as two of the five are believed to be on holiday at present.

It is understood Chair of the Sport NI Board Brian Henning and vice-chair Ian McAvoy remain in situ, as does fellow Board member Richard Bullick. Andrea Bingham and Brian Delaney also remain on board, though they are currently on holiday.

We can reveal that the NINE Sport NI board members who resigned are:

Gerard Campbell

Chief Executive of Colleges NI and has previously been Chief Executive for the NI Commissioner for Children and Young People. Currently a Non-Executive Board Member of the Health and Safety Executive for NI and also a member of that organisation’s Audit and Risk Management Committee.

He is also a board member of Extern. From 2002 to 2008 he was Director of Corporate Services with the NI Social Care Council. He is a Committee Member and Club Secretary with the Knights Wheelchair Basketball Club and was Team Manager for the NI Wheelchair Basketball Team, participating in the 2011 UK Regional Championships.

Paul Cummings

Qualified accountant and is currently the Director of Finance on the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) with joint responsibility for the strategic direction of the Board and the five Health Trusts.

Has competed competitively across a wide range of sports including archery, football, tennis, and volleyball. Has been a Tennis Tournament Referee, Tennis Umpire (to Davis Cup standard), Tennis Coach and Chairman of a local tennis club. He is the current Performance Manager at the Northern Ireland Archery Society.

John D’Arcy

Director of The Open University in Ireland. Previously Chief Executive of Colleges NI, a Director of BDO Stoy Hayward Management Consultants, Principal Officer for Research and Statistics at CCEA and a Research Fellow with the NI Council for Educational Research.  Chairman of Oh Yeah Music Centre, a Director of the NI Commonwealth Games Council, Skills Ambassador for Higher and Further Education for Creative and Cultural Skills in Northern Ireland and a member of the Institute of Directors Education Committee.  Has been Chairman of Audiences NI and was a member of the Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland.  A former President of the NI Tenpin Bowling Federation and was Vice President of the European Zone of the World Tenpin Bowling Association. He is a qualified coach and was Manager/Coach of the NI Tenpin Bowling Team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Eddie Lynch

Founding Chief Executive of Age Sector Platform, the organisation that runs the NI Pensioners Parliament and supports older people to campaign on issues such as income inequality, fuel poverty and health and social care. Has played sports at amateur level, such as football, golf and squash. Previously worked with the Consumer Council.

Roisin Mallon

Policy Manager with the Equality Commission, previously having been Director-Equality Legislation and Access and Campaigns Manager for the organisation. Has co-ordinated and contributed to the Good Relations Forum. Also worked in private practice as a solicitor and has provided legal advice on a range of areas, including employment law. Active rock climber and mountaineer and keen cyclist. Has acted for over 15 years as a Committee Member of the Belfast Association of Fell Runners and Rock Climbers and has also been involved in organising cross border mountaineering events.    

Shane McCullough

Has been a lecturer in Sports Development and Coaching at the University of Ulster’s Sports Academy since 2004. Currently Associate Head of School. He was recently appointed as a Director of the Sports Institute Northern Ireland. Also involved in research and consultancy in the area of sports development and sport and good relations. Vice-Chair of the Irish Football Association’s Club Licensing Committee. Has been an adviser to numerous committees, including Sport Northern Ireland’s Development Committee and the ELB PE Advisory Panel. Was also Partnership Manager for Sport Belfast establishing and initially chairing the North Belfast Sports Forum. Was a member of the North Belfast Play Forum and Belfast Community Sport Network. Played football to intermediate and amateur league level. Also a judo player, boxer, gaelic footballer and golfer. Has a Level 5 UEFA Pro coaching licence and has coached numerous teams, at youth international level for boys and senior international level for women.

Danny O’Connor

Currently the Chair of Belfast City Marathon, and the Belfast Hills Partnership, Vice-Chair for the North Belfast Play Forum, and Commissioner to the Irish Basketball Association. Past roles consist of being Chief Leisure Officer at Craigavon Borough Council, a Leisure Management Consultant, and UK President of the Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management. Currently retired following 25 years (1974 to 1999) in sports development, sports administration and sports facilities planning and management advisory services with Sport Northern Ireland. Has a long teaching history involving roles as Head of PE at St.Comgall’s Larne, Head of PE at St Augustine’s Belfast, and Tutor in Charge of PE at Rupert Stanley College Belfast. Sporting achievements include being an Inter-county Ulster Colleges All Star Gaelic footballer, and International Basketball Player, Coach, Referee, and Administrator. For his contributions to the sport, he was inducted into Irish Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000.    

John O’Neill

Founder member of the Venture.i Network and has acted as both a Director and Managing Partner over the last 20 years.

Has been a Senior Adviser on an EU funded Enterprise Development Programme in Ukraine. Previously he was engaged by the International Fund for Ireland as its development consultant for Fermanagh South Tyrone, focusing on facilitation of community-based partnerships and community development companies. Has been involved in supporting Ulster Rugby to fund the Community Rugby model and has supported Ulster Council GAA to develop a Community Coaching Programme. He has been actively involved in Gaelic Games for his club St Patrick’s GFC Donaghmore and the University of Ulster at Coleraine.

Geoff Wilson

A member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and runs his own marketing and communications consultancy business. Previously the Head of Marketing and Communications at the IFA. Has a UEFA coaching badge with knowledge of football administration across the globe.

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