Liam Neeson gets OBE in new year's honours

 

A leading Ulster Unionist Party member, the chairman of the Parades Commission and the Ballymena-born actor, Liam Neeson, are among those from or based in Northern Ireland who figure in the British new year's honours list.

Two people receive knighthoods: Mr Josias Cunningham, president of the UUP, and Mr Alistair Graham, head of the Parades Commission. Both have had difficult and important roles to play in political life in the North over recent years.

Mr Cunningham, a retired stockbroker from Templepatrick, Co Antrim, was responsible for maintaining as much equilibrium as possible within the UUP during the internally tempestuous, bitter and fractious years of the peace process.

Behind the scenes he was a steady hand and generally succeeded in staying above the rows within the party without losing the support of either the right or liberal wings of the UUP.

Two other UUP members receive MBEs: Ms May Steele, assistant treasurer of the party, and Mr Jim Speers, vice-chairman of the UUP in the Newry-Armagh constituency.

Mr Graham, a Yorkshireman with a background in trade unionism and the public service, was appointed in March 1997 to the poison-chalice post of trying to find a solution to Drumcree and other contentious parades.

His award will hardly draw any plaudits from either the Orange Order or the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition. Mr Graham stuck to his impossible task, and at least can point to some headway, particularly in Derry where disputes over Apprentice Boys marches were resolved.

The actor Liam Neeson, who earned Hollywood stardom for leading roles in films such as Schindler's List and Michael Collins, was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE). A native of Ballymena, Co Antrim, his first professional role was in the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.

Mr Les Rodgers, chairman of the Police Federation - the RUC's representative body - received an MBE while Supt James Baxter was awarded the Queen's Police Medal. Supt Baxter was police commander in Omagh at the time of the "Real IRA" bomb atrocity.

Ms Breidge Gadd, head of the Probation Service in the North, was awarded a CBE, as was Mr Brian Hanna, chief executive of Belfast City Council.

Ms Aideen McGinley, chief executive of Fermanagh District Council, received an OBE for her part in organising Northern Ireland's millennium activities.

The opera singer and Arts Council member Ms Irene Sandford was awarded an MBE.

Two journalists also received the same award: Mr Michael Drake, political editor of the Belfast Telegraph, and Mr Thomas McDevitte, columnist with the Tyrone Constitution and Strabane Weekly News.

Ms Sandra Peake and Ms Helen Miskimmin earned MBEs for their work in helping the bereaved and traumatised, and victims of crime.

Dr Henrietta Campbell, chief medical officer with the Department of Health, and Mr Peter John Small, permanent secretary at the Department of Agriculture, were made Companions of the Order of the Bath.

Knights Bachelor (K): Josias Cunningham DL - for political and public service. John Alistair Graham - for services to the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland.

Companions of the Order of the Bath (CB): Dr Henrietta Campbell - for public service. Peter John Small - for public service.

Commanders of the civil division, Order of the British Empire (CBE): Breidge Marie Gadd - for services to probation. Brian Hanna - for services to local government. Stephen Kingon - for services to economic development.

Officers of the civil division, Order of the British Empire (OBE): John Allen - for services to secondary education. William James Armstrong - for services to rural development. Eric Kirkland Beatty MBE - for services to economic development. Robert John Bunting - for services to Home Start (UK). Barbara Burgess - for public service. Derek John Carson TD DL - for services to pathology. William James Caves - for services to education. Angela Maria Courtney - for services to housing and women's issues. David George Erwin - for services to marine environment. Muriel Elisabeth Gilliland - for public service. Daniel Edward Harvey - for services to banking. Pip Jaffa - for services to the community. Alan Grainger Kerr - for services to otolaryngology.

William James Masterson - for services to further and higher education. Anna McCabe - for services to nursing. Brian Godfrey McClelland - for services to the police service. Aideen McGinley - for services to the Northern Ireland Millennium Company. Ian Brice McQuiston - for services to the National Trust and to conservation. Thomas James Milligan - for services to the telecommunications industry. Liam Neeson, actor - for services to drama. Valerie Owens - for services to the Probation Service. John Andrew Rankin, farmer - for services to agriculture. Denis Henry Wilson JP - for services to higher education.

Members of the civil division, Order of the British Empire (MBE): Daniel Charters Adair - for services to small business. Isobel Aiken - for services to education. June Anderson - for charitable services to the community. Ella Baxter - for services to the community. Annie Marjory Boreland - for services to the Agriculture Research Institute. Ann Brown - for services to disadvantaged people. Kathleen Caldwell - for services to the voluntary sector. Donal Casey - for services to housing. Eileen Charleton - for services to the British Red Cross Society. Sheamus Cox - for services to further and higher education. Barbara Creighton - for services to the health service. James Dixon - for services to industry. Sylvia Patricia Marie Doran - for services to housing. Michael McMullan Drake - for services to journalism. William Louis Dunbar - for services to education. Brian Suffern Duncan - for services to horticulture and to the Daffodil and Tulip Committee of the Royal Horticulture Society. Valerie Dunne JP - for services to the YMCA and to the community. Violet Durkan - for services to the community. Thomas Elliott BEM - for services to the Ministry of Defence. John Stuart Ennis - for services to the police. Peter John Ferris - for charitable services to the community. Ronald James Hanna Forsythe - for services to rural regeneration and to the community. Gael Heather Grant - for services to higher education. Edward Gerard Hamilton - for services to the police. Maureen Wilson Irwin - for services to the RAF Association. Eileen Kelly - for services to education for adults. Mark Kelly - for services to employment opportunities. David Ferguson Kennedy - for services to the Boys' Brigade.

Elizabeth Kerr - for public service. Margaret Windrim Kerr - for public service. Eric Christopher Kewley - for public service. Robert James Lilley - for services to the St John Ambulance Brigade. Agnes Logan - for services to Barnado's. Samuel James Magee JP - for services to local government. Michael Desmond McCaldin - for services to water recreation and tourism. Thomas James McCann - for services to vulnerable and disadvantaged homeless people. Myrtle Doreen McCarroll - for services to the community. Mrs Sadie McClelland - for services to the Women's National Commission. Thomas Page McDevitte - journalist, for services to the community. Phillip Sean McShane - for services to the community. Helen Maureen Miskimmin - for services to victims of crime. Andrew Morrison - for services to education. Samuel Nixon - for public services. Fionnula Mary Jay O'Boyle - for services to conservation. Ruth Carmel Patterson - for services to health care and to the community. Sandra Peake, director, WAVE - for services to people bereaved and traumatised. Allan George Rainey - for services to the community and to local government. John David Lynn Reilly - for services to young people through the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Margaret Ellen Richardson - for services to housing. Leslie Rodgers - for services to the police. James Noel Sally - for services to the police. Irene Sandford, singer - for services to music. Margaret Scott - for services to the Boys' Brigade. Victor George Shaw QPM - for services to the police. Agnes Shields - for services to education.

Frances Patricia Lavinia Skelton - for services to nursery education. James Alexander Speers - for political and public service. May Steele JP - for political and public service. Muriel Todd - for services to the community. Martyn John Robert Todd - for services to Strangford Stone. Pearl Valentine - for services to the library services. Rosaleen Dolores Wadforth - for services to Customs and Excise. Anna Manwah Watson - for services to ethnic minorities.

Queen's Police Medal (QPM): Supt William James Baxter - for services to the police. Det Sgt William Robert Bethel - for services to the police. Supt Thomas John Boyd - for services to the police. Supt Alfred Desmond Cousley - for services to the police

Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM): John Harrison McCaughan, senior divisional officer, Belfast Fire Brigade.