Skip to main content
In order to provide complete functionality, this web site needs your explicit consent to store browser cookies. If you don't allow cookies, you may not be able to use certain features of the web site including but not limited to: log in, buy products, see personalized content, switch between site cultures. It is recommended that you allow all cookies.
 

ECNI

Our structure

Biographies and organisation chart
 

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland is governed by a board of Commissioners consisting of a Chief Commissioner, a Deputy Chief Commissioner and up to eighteen other Commissioners all appointed by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

As public office-holders, Commissioners' behaviour and actions must be governed by the principles set out in this Code of Conduct (pdf) 

Commissioners set the overall strategic direction for the organisation, set the policy framework and oversee the delivery of the planned work.  With the exception of the Chief Commissioner all Commissioner are part time and are appointed for a three year term.

The current Commissioners are:

 

Geraldine McGahey OBE (Chief Commissioner)

Geraldine McGahey
Geraldine McGahey was appointed the Chief Commissioner for the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in March 2020, having served as a Commissioner from 2015. 

Prior to this Geraldine was a former Chief Executive of Larne Borough Council and SOLACE gender champion. She represented local government on various regional fora including the Good Relations Panel, Flags Forum, 
Social Investment Fund and the Review of Public Administration. Geraldine has served as a Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission from 2016 through to 2020 and as a Non-Executive Director of the Northern Health and Social Care Trust from 2016 to 2020.

Geraldine is a graduate of the University of Ulster and the University College of Estate Management.

Geraldine was awarded the OBE in 2015 for services to local Government and the Community.

Geraldine McGahey's Register of Interests (pdf)

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2025
 

Neil Anderson (Deputy Chief Commissioner)

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson was formerly the Head of NSPCC in Northern Ireland. Neil has a career history of general management and HR across a variety of organisations and sectors.

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023
 

Maureen Brunt

Maureen Brunt
Formerly employed with Ulster Bank, Maureen Brunt has over 25 years’ experience in community development. She currently works as a development consultant and freelance life coach. Passionately interested in the needs of people with disability, chronic conditions and chronic pain, Maureen has recently completed BSc (Hons) Psychology with University of Derby where she won Futures Award Student of the Year 2021.  She is an active volunteer with Integrated Care Partnership and Trillick Enterprise Centre as well as an accredited Methodist local preacher.

Appointed 1 June 2022
 

Siobhan Cullen

Siobhan Cullen
Siobhan has been Head of Department of Law, Public Service and Education at Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Donegal for 5 years and, prior to that, was a law lecturer for 17 years. She is currently on sabbatical leave and is employed as a law lecturer with Open University Belfast.

Siobhan previously practised as a legal aid Solicitor in London and is an accredited mediator who holds an MSc in Equality Studies (UCD) and is undertaking doctoral studies in Education and Social Justice. As well as being a Board Member with Donegal Women’s Centre, Siobhan is an assessor with Athena Swan Ireland and is a Mental Health Commission (Dublin) Tribunal Lay Member. 


Appointed 1 June 2022
 

Duane Farrell

Duane Farrell

 

Duane Farrell has been working in the Community and Voluntary sector in Northern Ireland for over 20 years. During that time, he has worked within the LGB&T community, as well as with older people and children and young people. In these roles, he has developed services, led campaigns and worked to influence legislation and policy. Currently he is the Chief Executive of Relate NI. 

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023

 

Helen Ferguson

Helen Ferguson

 

Helen Ferguson has 40 years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector as a volunteer, trustee and paid worker. She was born in Belfast and studied social policy at QUB. She has worked in Liverpool, Buckinghamshire and Greater Manchester, supporting volunteers and community organisations and promoting user and carer engagement.  She was Director of Carers Northern Ireland for nearly 20 years and is a former Commissioner with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Helen is Head of Policy and Influencing Northern Ireland with the National Deaf Children's Society. She has worked as Policy and Campaigns Officer with the National Deaf Children’s Society. A strong believer in collaboration, Helen is an active member of voluntary sector networks including the Coalition on Deafness and the Children with Disabilities Strategic Alliance.

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023

Ellen Finlay

Ellen FinlayEllen is Policy and Development Manager at the Samaritans.  She has over 20 years’ experience in the community and voluntary sector. She has delivered project management, strategic visioning, group facilitation and community consultation. She currently sits on the Northern Ireland Food Advisory Committee.  A social scientist by training, Ellen’s professional interests encompass social inclusion, equality and methodologies for effective community engagement.

During her career she has championed issues surrounding women’s lack of engagement in policy, child poverty, food insecurity and holiday hunger, early years investment and mental health.  Ellen also founded an initiative in money management and budgeting skills for low-income families.

Appointed 1 June 2022

Monica Fitzpatrick, MBE (She/her)

Monica Fitzpatrick
Monica is a retired Civil Servant with extensive experience working in Equality and Social Inclusion Policy in Central Government. She has been Equality Advisor in Department of Justice, Social Inclusion LGBTQI+ Policy Lead in Department for Communities and Equality and Human Rights Advisor in OFMdFM (now TEO). Monica has been Ally Rep on the NICS LGBT Network Committee,  co-authoring the Network's LGBT Language Guide 'Let's Get Better Together' and the earlier Guide to Human Rights for Public Authorities 'Get in on The Act'.

Appointed 1 June 2022

Colin Kennedy

Colin Kennedy
Colin Kennedy is Chief Executive of 'Jordan's Gift' (a NI Charity assisting young people living with disability). Prior to taking up his current position he has been Chief Executive of the Mary Peters Trust and Chief Executive of Lenken Healthcare (Ireland) Ltd.

He also spent 14 years in the finance industry. He served as Chairman of the General Dental Council Complaints Panel and as Northern Ireland representative on the NHS Pay Review Board as well as a member of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (Fitness to Practice) and locally as a Commissioner on the Parades Commission.

Colin is currently a member of the Review Tribunal for Northern Ireland and also the Appeals Tribunal. He is Chairman of the Northern Ireland Football League. Non-Executive Board Member at the Department of Justice and Chairman of the Departmental Audit and Risk Committee for the Department of Justice.


Appointed 1 June 2022
 

Jarlath Kearney

Jarlath Kearney

 

Jarlath Kearney is a strategy advisor in the public sector. In 2018, Jarlath was appointed as a National Expert for the European Commission’s TAIEX Programme in relation to public institutional transformation and legislative reform in the Balkans.  Currently a regular columnist with The Irish News, he has previously served as a Board Member of the Arts Council NI (2015-17), as Special Advisor to the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure (2012-14), and as a Ministerial Policy Advisor in the NI Assembly (2007-11). Jarlath is also a former Board Member of the Community Relations Council and a former Chief Political Correspondent at the Belfast Media Group. He holds Master's degrees in Journalism Studies and in Human Rights Law, respectively. Jarlath is a former Sinn Fein party member.

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023

 

Deepa Mann-Kler

Deepa Mann-Kler

 

Deepa Mann-Kler is an exceptionally experienced public, private and charity sector Chair and Non-Executive Director, having served on 11 Boards across the UK over the past fourteen years. As Chief Executive of Neon and Visiting Professor for Immersive Futures with Ulster University, she specialises in use of immersive technologies for health. As a TEDx speaker and thought leader she regularly keynotes on the intersection of digital transformation, technical innovation, inclusion, ethics, bias, data and AI. Deepa is author of the first report on race discrimination with policy recommendations for the public sector in Northern Ireland "Out Of The Shadows." As an artist Deepa has a strong focus on public art light installations, notably Light Up Leicester 2020, Lumiere Durham 2019, London 2016 & 2013 in Derry/Londonderry UK City of Culture.

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023

 

John McCallister

John McCallister
John McCallister is a land mobility manager for the Young Farmers Club of Ulster and Board Member of the Community Relations Council. He is a former member of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

Appointed 1 June 2022
 

Carmel McKinney OBE

Black Silhouette

 

Carmel has held a number of senior roles in education, including Chair of the Belfast Education and Library Board. She is currently Chair of the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service Board and an independent member of the Policing Board.

Appointed 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2023

 

Sheena McKinney

Sheena McKinney
Sheena  McKinney is a senior nurse manager with over thirty years experience within the public sector. Sheena has extensive experience of governance and accountability both as an operational and strategic leader. She holds the Institute of Directors Certificate in Company Direction and post graduate qualifications in Governance. Sheena is deeply committed to working with and through community and voluntary groups to encourage others to apply for roles within public life.  She hopes that her success as a Boardroom Apprentice will act as a catalyst for others to step forward and apply.

Appointed 1 June 2022
 

Preeti Yellamaty

Preeti Yellamay
Preeti Yellamaty has over 15 years' experience of working in range of charities in Northern Ireland. Preeti has worked as a therapist for both young people and adults within addiction services in Northern Ireland and currently works as a coordinator in a drugs and alcohol service.  A great believer in helping individuals reach their full potential through collaborative work.  Preeti is also an independent member of the Policing and Community Safety Partnership for Lisburn and Castlereagh Council. 

Appointed 1 June 2022
 
 

 

Staff in the Commission

 

The Equality Commission's senior management team is led by Chief Executive Dr Evelyn Collins CBE (pdf) view the Commission's organisation chart (pdf)   and senior staff register of interests (This is a scanned document in pdf format. Please contact Edel Anderson if you would like a copy of this in another format, email: eanderson@equalityni.org )

 
About Us link     About us What we do    What we do link