Belfast Telegraph

Minister yet to release inquiry into former boss

By Deborah McAleese

A Stormont investigation into the former chief executive of Northern Ireland's museums has been completed, it can be revealed.

The findings of a probe into Tim Cooke have yet to be released by the Culture Minister, whose department launched the investigation following his surprise resignation last year.

Mr Cooke departed from his £100,000-a-year post with National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) in November after 11 years. He was the subject of an internal probe into "an allegation of a serious breach of procedure" when he resigned.

It is understood that the alleged breach of procedure related to an application by Mr Cooke to go on a study programme in the United States.

Mr Cooke said at the time that he had resigned for personal reasons.

However, in December the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure started an investigation "into the issues understood to be behind the resignation".

The department confirmed yesterday it has finished that investigation but declined to comment further. A spokesman for NMNI said an internal investigation was continuing.

Before joining NMNI in 2003, Mr Cooke was the head of broadcasting at BBC NI.

During his time in the post, NMNI came under criticism over the storage of historical artefacts and record keeping.

An Auditor General's report in 2006 said half of 50 stores housing National Museums and Galleries of Northern Ireland collections were "poor or unacceptable" and needed "to be addressed urgently".

Belfast Telegraph


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