Extension of Councillors’ Appointments for the Board of Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Date published: 09 January 2020


The Department for Infrastructure has announced that the appointment terms of three Non-Executive Councillor Members of Belfast Harbour Commissioners has been extended.

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This is with effect from 25 January 2020 to 31 March 2020. 

This extensions have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland’s Code of Practice.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Belfast Harbour Commissioners is a Public Trust Port established by legislation.  The Commissioners have responsibility, under a series of Harbour Acts and Orders, for developing, maintaining and operating Belfast Port to the highest standards of efficiency, financial prudence, environmental awareness, safety and security to the benefit of all stakeholders. The Constitution of the Commissioners was established under Schedule 1 of the Belfast Harbour Order (Northern Ireland) 2002.
  2. The Belfast Harbour Commissioners currently have a membership of a Chair, an Executive Member and twelve Non Executive Members (this figure includes the three Councillors). The Non-Executive Members currently receive remuneration of £12,608 per annum.
  3. Alderman Sonia Copeland is a full-time member of Belfast City Council and represents the Titanic Electoral Ward.  She is a member of the Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Committee, Licensing Committee, The North Foreshore Committee, The Grand Opera House Board, Chair of the Older Persons Reference Group, Climate Crisis Working Group and is also a member of the East Belfast Police Community Safety Partnership.    
  4. Alderman Frank McCoubrey is a full time member of the Council and represents the Court District Electoral Area. He is a member of the People and Communities Committee and of the West Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership.
  5. Councillor Ciaran Beattie is a full time member of Belfast City Council and represents the Black Mountain Electoral Area. He is a member of the Strategic Policy and Resource Committee and the City Growth and Regeneration Committee. He is also party group leader of Sinn Fein.
  6. Councillors are appointed to the Board in line with the requirements of the Belfast Harbour Order (Northern Ireland) 2002, and can only serve as a Commissioner if they remain a member of Council.
  7. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. Sonia Copeland has declared that she has undertaken political activity on behalf of the Ulster Unionist Party.  Frank McCoubrey has declared that he has undertaken political activity for the Democratic Unionist Party. Ciaran Beattie has declared that he has undertaken political activity for Sinn Fein.
  8. The Department for Infrastructure does not reappoint board members automatically to a second term.  All appointments are made through open competition.  This is an extension rather than a re-appointment. 
  9. The decision to extend this appointment has been made by the DfI Permanent Secretary under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise Functions Act 2019.  The Permanent Secretary provided her approval for the extension in 2019.
  10. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk.  Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110 and your call will be returned.
  11. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.


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