Les Allamby has been appointed Chief Commissioner for a period of five years. He took up post on 1 September 2014. His second term will last for two years until 31 August 2021.
Les is a solicitor and formerly the Director of the Law Centre (Northern Ireland). He was appointed honorary Professor of Law at the University of Ulster in 2014 and he was a trustee of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland from 2009-2018. He was a former Chair of an Advisory group to Human Rights Commission on proposals for economic and social rights within a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. From 2015-2018 he chaired the Commonwealth Forum for National Human Rights Institutions.
He was also the inaugural Chair of the Social Security Standards Committee for Northern Ireland, a member of the Legal Services Commission (Northern Ireland) and a member of the Legal Services Review Group. He was the Northern Ireland member and vice chair of the Social Security Advisory Committee from 2005-2014. He has undertaken election monitoring for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and International Organisation for Migration in Bosnia, Pakistan and Georgia. Les was also a former Chair of the immigration sub group (OFMDFM) and a former member of the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership (Home Office).
He was a member of CAJs executive committee and a founder member of the Children’s Law Centre.
David has been Chief Executive since April 2017. From 2009-2016 he also served as a Non-executive Director at the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.
David has led the Commission’s duty to advise the United Kingdom government, Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly on matters affecting human rights in the jurisdiction. In addition, he has managed research and the exercising of investigatory powers on a diversity of social policy issues from emergency healthcare to racist hate crimes; the rights of nursing care home residents addressing the legacy of conflict. In 2008, he was engaged in drafting the Commission’s advice to the Secretary of State on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. In 2010, he was similarly involved in the work of the Joint Committee of the National Human Rights Institutions on the island of Ireland to produce advice on a proposed Charter of Rights.
David has expertise assisting governments and National Human Rights Institutions working in societies facing significant constitutional reforms. This has included providing support to capacity building and governance programmes delivered in partnership with the United Nations, United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Commonwealth Secretariat and European Union.
From 2006-2009 David was Visiting Research Fellow at the School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast, and from 2002-2004 he was a Research Associate at the University of Oxford. He holds a PhD from the University of York, MA and BA Hons from Queen’s University Belfast.
Helen Ferguson has over 30 years’ experience of working in the community and voluntary sector. She,was the Director of Carers Northern Ireland from 1994-2015 and is currently employed as part-time Policy and Campaigns Officer with National Deaf Children’s Society.
Helen is a member of the Equality Commission Northern Ireland.
Helena Macormac is a lawyer currently employed as Director for the National Association of Head Teachers Northern Ireland (NAHT (NI)). Prior to her role at NAHT she was Head of Strategic Advocacy at the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities.
Helena is currently an Advisory Board member to the Black and Minority Ethnic Women’s Network Northern Ireland.
Paul Mageean qualified as a solicitor in 1991. In addition to his role with the Commission, he is a Parole Commissioner and Chair of Public Interest Litigation Support Project. He also sits on the Policing Authority and the Parole Board in the Republic of Ireland.
Previously, Paul was a Legal Officer for the Committee on the Administration of Justice (1995-2004), and Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queen’s University Belfast (2013-2018). He was also a Commissioner for the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
John McCallister lives near Rathfriland, County Down. After studying at Greenmount College (CAFRE) he returned home to start his farming career.
After many years of involvement with Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster serving in different roles he was elected YFCU President from 2003-05.
With a passion for politics, John was then elected as a UUP Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in March 2007 and re-elected in 2011 for the South Down constituency. He was the first MLA in have a Private Members Bill passed by the Assembly becoming the Caravans Act 2011 and the only member to pass a second Private Members Bill in 2016 when the Assembly and Executive Reform (Assembly Opposition) Act 2016 was passed. He served on ten different Assembly Committees and the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly. John served as Deputy Leader of the UUP between 2010 and 2012. He co founded NI21 and was Deputy Leader for one year.
After leaving the Assembly in 2016 John now works for YFCU and Ulster Farmers Union heading up a Land Mobility Programme and was appointed as a Human Right Commissioner in 2017.
Eddie Rooney is a former Senior Civil Servant who was Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency (PHA), from its formation in 2009 until his retirement in 2016. Prior to joining the PHA, he was Equality Director in OFMDFM (now The Executive Office) and Deputy Secretary in the Department of Education.
Eddie is a member of the Advisory Board of the Food Safety Promotion Board (Safefood) and an Honorary Member of the Faculty of Public Health.
Graham Shields is the former Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland and a retired senior police officer.
Graham was awarded the OBE for Services to Electoral Democracy in the 2017 Birthday Honour’s List.