Former head of Police Authority one of 70 in NI to be honoured


The head of the recently disbanded Police Authority, Mr Patrick Armstrong CBE, has been knighted in Queen Elizabeth's new year's honours list. He is one of 70 people to be included in the Northern Ireland list, and the only one to receive a knighthood.

Sir Patrick served on the Police Authority, which was responsible for funding and holding the RUC to account, for 10 years from 1991 until it was replaced in November this year by the Policing Board, which holds the new Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) to account.

He was appointed vice-chairman of the body in 1994, and its chairman three years later. Sir Patrick helped to steer it through the difficult period of policing change triggered by the Patten police reform proposals. He was twice reappointed, in 2000 and last year as chairman of the authority.

The Northern Secretary, Dr John Reid, congratulated Sir Patrick. "Pat Armstrong gave courageous leadership to the Police Authority during a particularly difficult time for all involved in policing in Northern Ireland," he said. "He has played an important role in laying the foundations for cross-community support for policing which will benefit the whole community.

"The award is fitting recognition of Pat's contribution to helping see in the new beginning to policing in Northern Ireland."

The joint secretary of the North-South Ministerial Council, Mr Dick Mackenzie from Belfast, is awarded a CB - a Companion of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. Mr Mackenzie is first joint secretary of the North-South body, which was established in the wake of the Belfast Agreement.

He has served in the Northern environment department and has a long record in town and country planning. He played a leading role in the establishment of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. He is chairman of the Ulster Youth Orchestra and a trustee of the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

Three members of the PSNI received the Queen's Police Medal, Insp Richard Abbott, Det Sgt Raymond Myles and Sgt Leemond Robinson. Insp Abbott wrote Police Casualties in Ireland 1919-22 and raised £250,000 sterling for the RUC Benevolent Fund last year.

Three other police officers received MBE: Chief Supt Gerry O'Callaghan, who has served in the police force for 31 years; Reserve Const William Robinson who has established a good working relationship with the west Belfast community over the past 21 years, and Sgt June McHugh, who works in the police press office and played a key role in establishing the Police Casualty Bureau, which handled 16,000 calls after the Omagh bombing.

Two fire officers who dealt with the aftermath of serious bombings and fires relating to the Troubles, Mr James McCallum and Mr Thomas Withers, were awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal.

Fire Officer Mr John Carl Langtry, who was one of the first two officers to deal with the Omagh bombing, was awarded an MBE, Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Mr Mervyn Pauley, a retired Belfast-based journalist who has covered all the major political events of the Troubles, and some before, received an OBE, Officer of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Mr Pauley earlier this year retired as the political correspondent of the News Letter in Belfast, having covered politics with the paper since 1963.

Prof Agnes Jennifer Adgey from Lisburn, a consultant cardiologist at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, an internationally recognised figure in cardiology and an expert in pre-hospital coronary care, was awarded a CBE, Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

Civil servant and engineer Mr William Henry Walker from Bangor, Co Down, also received a CBE. He was involved in many highly commended public works including the refurbishment of Parliament Buildings, Stormont, following a major fire and the reconstruction of Armagh courthouse, which was badly damaged in a bomb attack.

CBEs were also awarded to Mr Hugh Cushnahan, chairman of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners; Mr Victor Haslett from Holywood, Co Down, who was chairman of the Northern Ireland Millennium Company; Mr William Purdy from Donaghadee, Co Down, chief scout of the UK Scout Association, and Prof Peter Roebuck from Portstewart, Co Derry, for services to education.

From 1992 until 2000, he was Pro-Vice Chancellor and Provost of the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster.

Among those receiving OBEs were Mr Patrick McHugh from Ballymena, for services to the St Vincent de Paul society; Mr William Lockhart from Holywood, Co Down, chief executive of Extern, the voluntary body working with people affected by crime and social need; Mr Arthur O'Neill from Belfast, who is involved in projects aimed at diverting young people away from crime, and Mr Ian Young from Derry, for services to economic regeneration in Derry. He played a widely commended cross-community mediation role in connection with controversial parades and other sensitive public events in Derry.

Ms Janet Grey from Hillsborough, Co Down, a blind water skier, received an MBE for services to disabled water-skiing. Also receiving MBEs were Mr William King from Coleraine, Co Derry, who brought the World Ploughing Championship to Northern Ireland in 1990 and plans to do so again in 2004; Ms Sheila Sinton, a kitchen assistant at Derryhale Primary School in Tandragee, Co Armagh, and Mr Trevor Wright from Belfast, for services to disadvantaged people.

Mr Hal Simpson (81) from Belfast received an MBE for services to disabled people. A civil engineer based at the famous code-breaking Bletchley Park in England, he developed artificial limbs for amputees after the second World War.