Infrastructure Minister announces appointments to the Drainage Council Northern Ireland

Date published: 18 June 2021

Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon, has announced the appointment of five Non-Executive Members to the Drainage Council.

Minister Nichola Mallon
Minister Nichola Mallon

The Members will represent the specialist areas of: Fisheries; Conservation; Tourism; Agriculture and Drainage.

The Minister has appointed for a first term, Cathal Gallagher, Peter Archdale, Wendy Elliott and Maureen Brunt. Alan Strong has been appointed to serve a second term.

Minister Mallon said:

“I congratulate all the appointees. I am confident that their experience and knowledge in each of their specialist interest areas will add important value to the work of the Council as it continues to work with DfI Rivers in the development of drainage and flood defence schemes across Northern Ireland.”

The Minister also paid tribute to the outgoing Members, saying:

“I would also thank Brendan Kerr and Andrew Wilson for their valuable contribution to the Drainage Council during their tenure.”

The appointments are effective from 1 July 2021.

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. The Drainage Council is an independent advisory body, responsible for providing a general scrutiny role in relation to the Department for Infrastructure’s drainage functions. It has a statutory duty to ensure uniformity of treatment on drainage issues throughout Northern Ireland.
  2. From the 1 July 2021 the Drainage Council for Northern Ireland will have a membership of ten Councillor Non-Executive Members, five specialist area Non-Executive Members and two DfI representatives.
  3. Members of the Drainage Council can claim reasonable travel expenses incurred on Drainage Council business but receive no other remuneration for their work.
  4. 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. Cathal Gallagher, Peter Archdale, Wendy Elliott, Maureen Brunt and Alan Strong have declared that they have not undertaken any recent political activity
  5. The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) does not reappoint Non-Executive Members to a second term without competition.


  1. Mr Cathal Gallagher – Fisheries.

Cathal Gallagher is the Head of Research and Development in Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI). He works with a team of applied researchers in the development and delivery of a range of research projects and in the provision of advice on all matters relating to Ireland’s unique inland fisheries resources. He also served two terms as Chair of European Inland Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission (EIFAAC) and currently acts as the EU representative to NASCO’s (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation) International Atlantic Salmon Research Board (IASRB).

  1. Mr Peter Archdale – Conservation. 

Peter Archdale is a retired Royal Navy officer, he has held a number of public appointments, including Vice Chair of Council for Nature and the Countryside, and is currently a Governor of South West College for which he receives remuneration of £250 for attending a Board meeting and £150 for a sub-committee meeting.  He has also served on the boards of several regional environmental NGOs and is currently Chair of Camphill Community Clanabogan.

  1. Mrs Wendy Elliott – Tourism.

Wendy Elliott has worked in the private, public and third sectors. Most recently she held the position of Fundraising Manager for the National Trust. On a voluntary basis she has held the role of President of Belfast Junior Chamber of Commerce, Non-Executive Director of Will to Give and Chair of the Institute of Fundraising Committee, Northern Ireland.

  1. Mrs Maureen Brunt - Agriculture.

Maureen Brunt has had a portfolio career in Banking, Community Development and Social Care. She runs a development consultancy, a spa and holistic well-being business and manages a dairy farm. She is committed to environmental sustainability and has achieved DairyPro Endorsed Status.  She is a member of European Mentoring & Coaching Council and Register of Exercise Professionals; Fellow of the Federation of Holistic Therapists and a former Non-Executive Director with Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, (2015 - 2020).

  1. Professor Alan Strong MBE CEng FICE, CWEM, FCIWEM – Drainage

Alan Strong is currently Smart Region Collaborative Officer at South West College having been ‘Academic Lead for Civil Engineering’ at Ulster University for several years and holds a Visiting Professor role. His MBE award was for ‘Services to Higher Education and Sport’ .He is the current Chair of the Drainage Council (2015 - 2021). He holds or has held a number of appointments including: Vice Chair of Methodist College Belfast, Chair of the Institution of Civil Engineers (NI) & Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management (NI) and Waste Management Advisory Board. 

  1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press at Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer - number 028 9037 8110.
  2. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.

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