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📧    |    💻    |    ☎️  028 9536 3996 ( Please note calls to this number will be charged at local rate)

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FREEPHONE.: 0800 917 0222
FREEPHONE: 0800 917 0222

Our Council 

The PCC has a Council made up of a Chair and Council Members, recruited from across Northern Ireland under the Public Appointments Process. 

Our Council is responsible for:

  • Setting our strategic direction.
  • Monitoring our performance.
  • Ensuring the highest standards of corporate governance and personal behaviour.
  • Ensuring proper financial stewardship.
  • Appointing and appraising senior officers.
  • Giving account to local communities.

The PCC Council currently consists of 15 members. 


Ruth Sutherland is Chair of Social AdVentures, a public health social enterprise based in Salford, and Vice chair of Lloyds Bank Foundation, passionate about health and social care and social justice. Ruth began her career as a registered general nurse and progressed to work mostly in public health roles. Following a forty-year career in health and social care, public and voluntary sectors, Ruth stepped down as Chief Executive of Samaritans, UK and Ireland in Nov 2020 to pursue a portfolio career involving non-executive roles, volunteering, executive coaching and consultancy.

Ruth has held senior leadership roles in the voluntary sector, working with Children, adults and older people many living with complex needs. Prior to joining Samaritans in 2015, Ruth was CEO of Relate and previously held senior executive leadership roles at the UK charities Rethink, Alzheimer’s Society and Scope.

Ruth was awarded the CBE for services to vulnerable people in 2019 and the Royal College of Psychiatrists Presidents medal for services to people with mental illness in 2019. Ruth was awarded The Daniel Phelan award for outstanding achievement at the UK Charity Awards in 2022.



Alan Hanna has held several senior management positions in the voluntary sector. He is currently a freelance Consultant working primarily in the voluntary sector. He has also served on a number of public boards as a Non-Executive Director including the HSC Business Services Organisation and the NI Fire and Rescue Service. Much of Alan’s work has been in the area of learning disability and he has long personal experience of supporting a close family member with autism and learning disability.

Alan has an honours degree in Modern History and an MSc in Organisation and Management. For the past several years he has undertaken a range of interim Executive appointments with voluntary organisations including Diabetes UK, Children’s Heartbeat Trust and Belfast Community Circus.  




Patrick Farry graduated from Queens University Belfast with a degree in Business Administration in 1983. Following post graduate studies in Advanced Financial Accounting, he qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1987 and worked in professional practice ever since. From 1992 to 2023 Paddy was a partner in HLB McGuire+Farry, Chartered Certified Accountants. He sold his interest in the practice in 2023 to focus on his other business interests however he continues to be engaged by  the practice on an advisory basis. His other business interests include insurance premium finance and commercial property development.

From 1994 to 2017 Paddy was Honorary Treasurer of NIACRO, a voluntary organisation working to reduce crime and its impact on people and communities.

Paddy served two three year terms as  a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Commission for Victims and Survivors  stepping down in 2016.

He was a director of Craigowen Housing Association which provides housing and related amenities for adults with learning difficulties, stepping down in March 2024.

A keen golfer, Paddy is currently Honorary Treasurer of Dunfanaghy Golf Club, Co Donegal.

He holds  no other public appointments.




Paul Douglas has 15 years’ experience as a senior manager within the Police Service of Northern Ireland prior to his retirement in 2010.

He has extensive experience in developing strategic partnerships and change management within various organisations. He currently serves as a Lay Commissioner with the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission, was a Non-Executive Director with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland and is a Non-Executive Director within the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.



Tom Irvine graduated from Queens University Belfast with a BSc. in physics. Joining Ford Motor Company 1974 he has extensive experience in finance, human resources and management development training. After spending 32 years with Ford, Tom took early retirement to work in the public sector as a part-time pension lecturer with the North West Regional College and the pension tutor for Unite the Union in Northern Ireland.

He has 15 years NED experience in both private and public sectors with 7 years as a Trustee Director of the Ford/Visteon Pension Scheme and 8 years as a Board Member of the NI Local Government Pension Scheme (NILGOSC) with a short term as Chairman and Deputy Chairman.

Currently he is an Independent Assessor for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland. Tom holds no other public appointments.



Stephen Matthews was Chief Executive of The Cedar Foundation, to October 2021, completing over 30 years’ service. Cedar supports over 3000 individuals living with disability, autism and brain injury to live the lives they choose. At Cedar he oversaw the development of a range of specialisms, including Supported Community Living for people with complex needs. He was appointed OBE in 2010 for services to people with a disability.

A graduate of the Universities of Ulster and Birmingham he is Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development qualified and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Stephen is a former Chair of CO3, He continues involvement as a CEO Mentor.

Stephen was appointed an Equality Commissioner with the ECNI in 2019, completing his term in May 2022. Stephen was reappointed as an Equality Commissioner with the ECNI in February 2023.

He is NI volunteer advisor to UK grant giving charitable foundation The Henry Smith’s Charity, supporting the investment over £1m pa to NI third Sector organisations.




Gary McMichael is founder and Chief Executive of ASCERT, a Northern Ireland charity providing services that address drugs, alcohol and mental health issues. He is a member of the Department of Health Substance Use Strategy Programme Board, Chair of the Belfast Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Team and sits on a number of other regional strategic groups related to health and social care.

Gary has worked in the voluntary and community sector for over 25 years, has served on the board of the Labour Relations Agency as well as a number of charities and charitable trusts. He was formerly an elected member of Lisburn City Council for 12 years until 2005.



Briege Arthurs has over 30 years’ experience working within community led regeneration for the private, public and over the past 11 years, voluntary sector as Chief Executive Officer for one of the 4 Area Partnerships within Belfast. Much of her work concentrates on community advocacy and capacity building around tackling health, education inequalities and supporting community cohesion. Under her leadership there has been a focus on social justice and giving voice to those who are most vulnerable. She delivers a city-wide Roma Hub where people can get advice and support to navigate services and access.

She has previous experience of serving on a Local Health Commissioning group, and as a volunteer worked to bring a Healthy Living Partnership into her local rural community. She is a member of the NICVA executive committee and the Chinese Welfare Association’s advisory group. As a lay member of the Queen’s University Belfast Senate for the last six years she has sat on a three committees- Planning and Finance, Health and Safety and Standing Committee where she brings her strengths in equality ,diversity and inclusion into every aspect of her work.  



Tom Sullivan is the Public Affairs and Policy Manager for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in Northern Ireland where he has worked for the last 23 years.  Previous employers include British Telecom, the Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders and the British Medical Association.

Tom is a former committee member and Secretary of the Irish Association for Cultural Economic and Social Relations. Tom served as a committee member on the management board Public Achievement from 2010 until 2016.Tom is currently a committee member of the Allied Health Professions Federation for Northern Ireland and a member of the Community Rehabilitation Alliance NI.

He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and is currently the Honorary Consul for the Slovak Republic in Northern Ireland which he was appointed to by the Slovak government in 2005.  He is a member of the UNITE trade union.



Mental health, wellbeing and family support have been central themes of Emma’s career, spanning across two decades in both the statutory and voluntary sectors.

Emma holds a BA Hons degree in Sociology and Social Policy from Queen’s University, later developing her professional education with an ILM Level 5 qualification in Leadership and Management.

In her current role as Head of Operations for TinyLife, she leads on the delivery of services for families with premature babies.  Early intervention and collaboration are pivotal to this role, owing to health inequalities associated with premature birth and the longer-term impacts.

In previous roles she has advocated for and supported young carers and their families and managed the delivery of mental health programmes in post-primary education.

With a passion for Diversity and Inclusion, she previously held the role of Co-Chair for Action for Children’s national Gender Equality Network held the role of Co-Chair for Action for Children’s national Gender Equality Network.



Rhoda Walker has a background in community development, corporate change and partnership working developed throughout her career, primarily in local government. She is currently a freelance consultant for the third sector.

A volunteer with the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership since 2016, as Chair she was heavily involved in the development of the NI Action Plan for Rare Diseases.  She was awarded an MBE in 2023 for Services to People with Rare Diseases.

She is an ambassador for Medics 4 Rare Disease, a charity raising awareness of rare conditions amongst the medical community and supports Ehlers Danlos Support UK to raise awareness of, and highlight the needs of those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a condition that affects many members of her family.

She is Chair of her local voluntary regeneration group.



Paula Bradley was first elected in 2005 to the Newtownabbey legacy Council, she served as Mayor from 2010 – 2011.

She was successfully elected to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2011 representing Belfast North. During her time as an Assembly member she served as Chairperson on the Committee for Health and the Committee for Communities. Paula also was an active member on many All-Party Groups including Stroke and Heart Disease, Sexual Health, Infertility, Autism and Homelessness.

Paula made the difficult decision in 2021 to withdraw from full time politics to look after her mother who had a diagnosis of Vascular Dementia. She was fortunate to return to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council and is now an Alderman for the Glengormley Urban district electoral area.

Prior to election to the Assembly Paula worked for Social Services in the Northern Trust in Whiteabbey and Antrim Area Hospitals. This, along with being full time carer for her mother has given her first-hand experience of the challenges in navigating the system.




Dr Julie Aiken is Regional Manager with Samaritans in Northern Ireland since 2014. During this time she has developed the presence of the organisation in NI, led on establishing relationships with key marginalised groups and had responsibility for the delivery of Samaritans best practice media guidelines for reporting suicide.

She has worked in the community and voluntary sector for nearly 15 years including at the Red Cross where she undertook research on humanitarian crises. In 2013, she was part of the team that delivered the World Police and Fire Games in NI and Giro d’Italia Big Start in 2014.

Julie is a Non-Executive Director with the Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust. She has a primary degree in Psychology (BSc Hons) and a PhD set within a human rights framework. She has spent the last 10 years working in the field of mental health and wellbeing across the UK and Republic of Ireland.



Councillor Cadogan Enright has served East Down for almost 20 years and was last re-elected to Newry Mourne and Down Council in May of 2023 for the Alliance Party for the Downpatrick/Lecale area. Cadogan is a qualified accountant with a record of delivering large-scale information technology projects, restructuring large multinational companies and delivering shared service centres arising from mergers and acquisitions.

Councillor Enright is active in a wide range of local and national environmental organisations working for sustainable development and on environmental conservation projects. He has post-grad qualifications in energy and the built environment. He has used his skills to assist both large governmental organisations and small community organisations transition to cheaper renewable solutions for their energy needs. He is a long-standing member of the Down Community Health Committee, working on health-related issues in East Down and a member of the Strangford Lough Management Advisory Committee



The PCC is committed to conducting its business and its meetings as publicly and openly as possible and members of the public have the right to speak or ask to present at our Council meetings.

Any requests to speak or present should be made at least five working days before the meeting date and should include a summary of the subject matter for consideration by the Chair. The Chair will review requests received within the appropriate notice period and will confirm any requirements or instructions in advance of the meeting – normally this will be confined to the making of a short statement or presentation (and making copies of any presentations available in advance of the meeting).

Notice of requests to speak or present can be provided by contacting Fionnuala, Business and Governance Manager, via email or phone 028 9536 2548

The next Council meetings will take place on: 

  • 17th July 2024
  • 23rd July 2024
  • 12th November 2024
  • 25th February 2025