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Clare Guinness to step down from Warrenpoint Harbour role

Clare Guinness
Clare Guinness
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

The first female leader of an Irish port has announced she will leave her post as chief executive of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority after just one year in the role.

Clare Guinness, who formerly worked in banking and the agrifood sector, was beaten to the post to be the first female heading a port in the UK by just six months when she took up the job at Warrenpoint, but she became the first in Ireland.

She is leaving the post to take up a role with a property development company in London but will carry out her job in Warrenpoint until September.

Speaking yesterday, Ms Guinness said her departure "came much sooner than I would have liked and I will be sorry to leave the port".

However, she described her new role as "a good opportunity".

Originally moving to the harbour from Fane Valley, the chief executive led Warrenpoint Port during one of its most uncertain periods due to Brexit, but saw it set new records in volumes of cargo and embark on a major investment drive.

Ms Guinness was not only the first female leader at an Irish port and the second to assume the role in the UK, she is one of a minority of females in senior posts in Northern Ireland.

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The Belfast Telegraph analysed 7,104 jobs across 10 sectors and found that 4,047 (57%) of the top roles are occupied by men, while women occupied 3,057 (43%) of prestigious posts.

Last year, under Ms Guinness' leadership, Warrenpoint Port handled a record high of 3.6 million tonnes of cargo with shipments including wood chip, cement, animal feed and steel.

The tonnage makes the port the second largest in Northern Ireland.

In a statement paying tribute to the soon to be departing chief executive, Stan McIlvenny, chairman of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, said: "Clare Guinness has given notice of her resignation as CEO of Warrenpoint Port to take up a new post with a property development company in London.

"She will remain at the port for the next six months to continue with the important and transformative body of work that she has commenced and to assist with the appointment of her successor.

"Under Clare's guidance, the port recorded its highest ever level of activity in 2018 and is set to continue to thrive throughout 2019 and beyond.

"She has also been instrumental in putting in place measures to deal with the uncertainty of Brexit and ensure the port has a strong future that will benefit our community and the wider economy."

He added: "On behalf of the board of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, I wish to thank Clare for the tremendous leadership she has provided throughout her time at the port and wish her every success for the future."

Manufacturing NI joined the tributes yesterday, stating that "Northern Ireland's loss would be London's gain".

Belfast Telegraph