Belfast Telegraph

Knighthood for outgoing police chief as Northern Ireland people are honoured

Fr Brian D’Arcy
Fr Brian D’Arcy
George Hamilton
Kieran Donnelly
Dr Michael Maguire
Chief Superintendent Emma Bond
Bear Grylls
Richard Collins

By David Young

The outgoing Chief Constable of the PSNI, George Hamilton, heads the list of distinguished Northern Ireland people recognised for their contribution to society both in their working and charitable endeavours.

Mr Hamilton, who retires later this month, receives a knighthood in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

“I am delighted to be receiving this award,” Mr Hamilton said.

“It has been an honour and the highlight of my career to have served as Chief Constable of the PSNI.

“Any success I have achieved has only been possible because of the sacrifice and support of my family and the women and men of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.”

Broadcaster and priest Fr Brian D’Arcy receives an OBE in recognition of his extensive cross-community work over the years.

The popular broadcaster said the award had come as a bit of a surprise. “But it’s nice that somebody noticed,” the Passionist priest joked.

“I hope that, in the work I have done, I’ve made a contribution to breaking down barriers.

“Thank God I had the opportunity to do something to help community relations in Northern Ireland,” Fr D’Arcy said.

Current Garda Commissioner Drew Harris was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal.

Queen’s Police Medals (QPM) also went to Chief Superintendent Jonathan Roberts and retired Detective Constable Ronnie Galwey — all for services to policing and the community in Northern Ireland.

Commissioner Harris — a former PSNI Deputy Chief Constable — served for more than 35 years in the RUC and PSNI before taking up his leadership role in the Garda Siochana last year.

It’s thought to be the first time that a serving Garda Commissioner has been recognised in this way.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton received an OBE, and colleague Chief Superintendent Emma Bond an MBE.

The youngest person honoured is 17-year-old Richard Collins, who is also given a BEM for services to the community in Cookstown, Co Tyrone.

The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, received a CBE for his services to justice. He is to retire next month.

President of the British Chambers of Commerce, Francis Martin, is among several Northern Ireland business figures who have been recognised in the birthday honours list. Mr Martin is a corporate finance partner at Belfast-based business support firm BDO Northern Ireland.

In 2016 he became the British Chamber’s first president from Northern Ireland.

He receives a CBE for services to UK business.

Richard Williams, CEO of Northern Ireland Screen, who was instrumental in bringing Game Of Thrones to Northern Ireland, said he was delighted to receive an OBE for services to the screen industries in Northern Ireland.

Mr Williams said: “I am delighted to accept this award which I see as a celebration of the tremendous value to Northern Ireland from the growth of the screen industries here and also recognition of the part that all my colleagues at Northern Ireland Screen have played in that success story.”

The first female paramedic in Northern Ireland, Jacqueline O’Hara (53), was awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Medal for her work.

The Moy woman has worked in the NI Ambulance Service for 21 years.

A former nurse, she is now paramedic station supervisor at Dungannon Ambulance Station.

Modestly, she said: “It’s a great honour — but I’m just doing my job.

“I hope it encourages other young women to step forward and play a major part in the paramedic role in the Ambulance Service.” Northern Ireland’s Comptroller and Auditor General, Kieran Donnelly, was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath for his work with the Northern Ireland Audit Office.

Wayne Gruba, who has campaigned for IRA victims of Libyan explosives, received a British Empire Medal for services to victims of terrorism.

He co-founded the Docklands Victims Association (DVA) in London after the 1996 republican bombing in London’s Docklands which killed two people and injured many more. Mr Gruba said: “I feel completely overwhelmed by this award.

“I’m accepting this immense honour on behalf of all the victims and those other volunteers at DVA who work tirelessly to help those in need.”

DVA president Jonathan Ganesh was badly injured and has known Mr Gruba for decades.

Mr Ganesh said: “His unceasing support has helped victims through his work at the DVA.”

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