Heather Mackey – Chairperson
Heather Mackey, a native of Co. Galway, has served as an independent non-executive Board Member of Loughs Agency since 2016. Her appointment as Chairperson of the Board took effect from 13th December 2021. Ms Mackey is an experienced Communications Director with over 20 years experience in strategic communications and advises numerous boards providing governance, business and communications support. A seasoned traveller, Ms Mackey has visited over 40 countries.
Ms Mackey founded the Galway-based public relations company, Ace Media, in 2009. She currently works as a publicist for many arts organisations in Galway, including the Galway Film Fleadh, Irish Film and Television Academy, Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture and TULCA Festival of Visual Arts and Blue Teapot Theatre Company. She previously worked as a TV producer for Bloomberg Television in London. She also works as a media lecturer and holds a Masters in Journalism from NUI, Galway.
Vice Chair – Vacant
Conor works as Manager of Cookstown and Western Shores Area Network, where he oversees a portfolio of rural development, community, health and wellbeing community funds and programmes, particularly in the Mid Ulster area. Conor has previously facilitated and managed a wide range of capital and revenue projects in the third sector on programmes in Europe, including Macedonia, Belgium, and Portugal. He spent seven years working throughout South America and Brazil, where he managed both development, health, and agrarian reform programmes for international aid agencies. He has held Chairperson positions on two Rural Development Programmes (RDP), DAERA RDP Oversight Committee, EU RDP Monitoring Committee, the Lough Neagh Partnership, is a volunteer and past Senior Training Manager for Lough Neagh Rescue and also represents the community / voluntary sector on a number of platforms including community planning, peace partnerships, local strategic development panels and Health Alliances.
Danny Kennedy (born 6 July 1959, married to Karen, 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl) is currently the Chairman of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) since December 2019 and was previously a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Newry and Armagh from 1998 to 2017. He was formerly Deputy Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Assembly Group. He served in the Northern Ireland Executive as Minister for Employment and Learning 2010/11 and Minister for Regional Development from 2011 to 2015. He was a Deputy Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly 2016/17.
Danny Kennedy has served at all levels, both local and within the wider party organisation of the Ulster Unionist Party, which he joined in 1974. He was a member of Newry & Mourne District Council for 25 years (1985-2010), and Council Chairman 1994/5. He served as a member of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board 1996-98.
He was chairman of the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister and his performance in this office garnered him the award for “Best Committee Chair” from the Slugger O’Toole blog site in 2008. Danny Kennedy was the Ulster Unionist Party candidate for Northern Ireland, during the 2019 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom; he was not elected.
Dr Declan Little
Dr Declan Little is currently the Ecological Lead with Coillte Nature which is dedicated to not-for-profit projects of scale focused on biodiversity enhancement, ecological restoration, ecosystem services and climate mitigation. Coillte Nature is a unit within Coillte, the State forestry company in Ireland. He has a background in native woodland research and management and in a previous role as Project Manager for Woodlands of Ireland, a technical environmental NGO, he instigated and developed the Forest Service ‘Native Woodland Scheme’ with a broad range of stakeholders, including Inland Fisheries Ireland and the Marine Institute. He was also instrumental in the development and implementation of the ‘People’s Millennium Forests’ project to celebrate the new millennium. The overlap between native riparian woodland establishment and protecting water quality resulted in his participation in a Loughs Agency ‘Salmon, Inland Fisheries and Environmental Stakeholder’ Focus Group in recent years. Declan is also a Director of Salmon Watch Ireland.
Fiona has extensive experience in the technology, education and healthcare sectors. Fiona currently serves as non-executive Director on multiple boards, with combined budgets of €100M+ and 900+ employees. For four years Fiona served as chairperson of Ireland’s largest Domestic Violence charity. Fiona has a Higher Diploma in Corporate Governance and an MBA from INSEAD. An innovative, analytical, and pragmatic leader with a track record driving performance and growth. Key strengths are leading organisations to develop strategy and to transform with technology.
Dr Frances Lucy
Dr. Frances Lucy is Head of the Department of Environmental Science and Director of CERIS, the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability at the Institute of Technology, Sligo. In addition to her new role with Loughs Agency, Frances is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency Advisory Committee and a Board Member of Inland Fisheries Ireland. Her main research interests are aquatic invasive species, fisheries science and water quality. Frances is President of Invasivesnet and is also involved in a range of environmental forums in both Europe and North America.
Following a career of successful leadership and management in the public and private sectors, including ten years as Cavan County Manager, Jack now works as a Senior Advisor. He assists organisations to reach their potential, plan strategically, manage change, develop innovative solutions, drive implementation and get results. He has recently played a pivotal role in Age Friendly Ireland focused on creating a better society for our ageing population.
Jack was appointed by Government to chair the boundary revision committees for Athlone and Drogheda, the National Rural Water Services Committee, the Pensions Commission and the Pyrite Resolution Board and served as a Board Member in the National Library of Ireland. He has extensive experience of working on cross-border issues and chaired the Cavan Peace Partnership for ten years.
Jack’s current work on Climate Action includes adaptation strategies around coastal erosion and rising sea levels. Jack holds qualifications in Leadership, Strategic Management, Public Management, Accountancy and Personnel Management. Jack qualified in Civil Engineering in 1974 and is a Fellow of Engineers Ireland. He is an associate lecturer in Leadership and Innovation in the Institute of Public Administration.
Laurence Arbuckle currently works for the Business Support Centre at North-West Regional College in Derry supporting local businesses in identifying and delivering their training needs.
For the previous two decades, he was employed by Bryson Energy, Foyle Regional Energy Agency and Derry City Council in the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and recycling fields and has collaborated with government departments, local authorities, housing bodies, energy utility companies and other key stakeholders to deliver major regional sustainable projects in the domestic, community and education sectors.
Laurence is strongly committed to the conservation and protection of the environment in all its forms. He has served two terms as a Board Member of Loughs Agency (2012-2018) and from 2020 – present, serving as the Agency’s Chairperson during each term.
Niall Greene is Chair of the Board of Salmon Watch Ireland. He has been a member of the Board of Inland Fisheries Ireland and Chair of the governing body of Limerick Institute of Technology. He is an experienced Non-executive Director of enterprises in the state and private sectors, especially in the aviation sector. He holds a Master of Laws degree from the University of Limerick.
Terry McWilliams was an elected member of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council representing the Lurgan District Electoral Area. He was a member of four of the Council’s standing committees: Planning & Regulatory Services, Environmental Services, Community Planning, and Governance, Resources and Strategy. Terry is a businessman in his local area.
Board Member – Vacant