As set out in Section 20 of the Communications Act 2003, the Committee was established to provide advice to Ofcom about the interests and opinions of people living in Northern Ireland on all communications matters.
The Committee, which meets quarterly in various parts of Northern Ireland, reports directly to the Ofcom Board and will publish its own annual report. The Ofcom Content Board Member for Northern Ireland, Rosemary Kelly, and Consumer Panel Member for Northern Ireland, Kevin McLaughlin, also attend meetings of the Committee by invitation.
Similar committees have been established for Scotland, Wales and England.
The newly-appointed members of the Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland are:
Sinead Boyle, formerly of Nortel Networks, where she gained an in-depth understanding of the communications sector, particularly the area of telecoms. She has previously been a Committee Member with the Information Age Initiative and Strategy 2010, giving her an insight into the wider Northern Ireland economy. She was President and Founder of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Network for Northern Ireland. Boyle lives in Belfast and is married with two children.
Carol Burrows, recently retired from the post of Adviser – Services for Children and Young People with the Southern Education and Library Board. In that role Burrows worked closely with social services and planned and presented training on Child Protection; this included keeping under review the Board’s Child Protection Policy and the management of a team working with young people deemed to be ‘in need’. Her previous experience included working with the Department of Education’s Raising School Standards Initiative and in curriculum and staff development work in schools. For the past 25 years she has been involved with the Craigavon Area Talking Newspaper Association. Burrows lives in Portadown and has two children and two grandchildren.
Margaret Connolly is Head of Communications at EGSA (Educational Guidance Service for Adults), where she leads on the organisation’s communications strategy and co-ordinates the adult learning campaign strategy for Northern Ireland. Previously she was a part-time lecturer at The Queen’s University of Belfast in the Management of Adult Basic Education. Connolly lives in Belfast.
Michael McKernan is a Director of all-island based information and publishing company, Bmf Business Services and of Lisburn-based strategy and communications specialists, Lagan Consulting. He is editor of the Northern Ireland Yearbook. Prior to this McKernan worked in the Department of Finance in Dublin, including a spell as a national negotiator in Brussels and Geneva, and in a number of strategic roles in the Viridian Group (Northern Ireland’s largest plc). An economist by training, he has considerable experience of major projects and infrastructural development. He is currently Vice-Chairman of the Maze Consultation panel, appointed to advise on the regeneration of the major former prison and security site. He is 44, lives in Lurgan, Co. Armagh and has three children.
Jane Morrice is a former Member and Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly and former Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland. A journalist by profession, she worked as a reporter for BBC Belfast and spent seven years in Brussels working for a press agency specialising in EU affairs. She also researched documentary films on development in Africa. Her Board memberships include Laganside Corporation, the Salvation Army and Sargent Cancer Care. A fluent French speaker, Morrice lives with her husband and young son in Bangor.
Una Murphy has worked in radio and television as a journalist and producer for broadcasters including BBC Northern Ireland, BBC Wales, RTE and UTV. She has recently set up a media production company, Nua Media Ltd, which is developing proposals for factual TV programmes and documentaries. She is a former Board Member of the Cork Film Centre and is currently a Member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions’ Northern Ireland Women’s Committee.
Ofcom appointed six members to the Committee earlier this year. They are: Brian Collins, a barrister and lecturer in Law at the University of Ulster; Dr David Elliott, the Regional Manager for Amey Business Services; Professor Wallace Ewart, a former Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ulster; Dr Leslie Orr, of Nortel Networks; Prof Gerard Parr, Chair in Telecommunications Engineering at the University of Ulster; and Glyn Roberts, Northern Ireland Parliamentary Officer for the Federation of Small Businesses.
The Ofcom Advisory Committee for Northern Ireland is chaired by Denis Wolinski, Ofcom Director, Northern Ireland.
Wolinski said: “The role of the Advisory Committee is to ensure Northern Ireland has its say on a range of broadcasting, telecoms and wireless communications matters as well as the opportunity to shape regulatory policies.
“The Members reflect many aspects of Northern Ireland life and have experience and expertise across the range of responsibilities which fall within Ofcom’s remit.”
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