The Board

Board Members are appointed by the Department for Infrastructure on the basis of open public advertisement. The number of Board members, including the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, may be no less than ten and no more than fifteen and up to four Board Members shall be members of Belfast City Council.

The management of Belfast Harbour is independent of Government and falls to the Board and the management team.

The duties of Board Members are akin to those of a company director, in particular to be accountable for the proper exercise of the statutory and administrative requirements placed upon them. 

In addition Board Members are required to:

  • Ensure high standards of corporate governance.

  • Establish the overall strategic direction of the Port having regard to the best interests of the Port and the local economy following consultation with key stakeholders.

  • Ensure that, in reaching decisions, Government policy and relevant guidance provided by the sponsor Department are taken into account.

Dr Theresa Donaldson


Dr Theresa Donaldson was appointed as Chair to the Board in July 2021. She is the first female Chair of Belfast Harbour.

Dr Donaldson brings a wealth of experience to the role, as a Non-Executive Director, Chair and former Chief Executive, with Board experience in the semi-state, public and not-for-profit sectors.

She is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors, with national and international experience of highly regulated business areas managing different governance arrangements in UK, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Dr Donaldson holds a number of Northern Ireland public appointments including the Health and Social Care Board, the Equality Commission and the Probation Board NI. She is also Vice Chair of the Eirgrid Group and Chair of SONI and holds Board positions with BBC Children in Need and the Centre for Effective Services.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Dr Theresa Donaldson
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Joe O'Neill

Joe O'Neill


Joe was appointed CEO of Belfast Harbour on 1st January 2018 having joined the organisation in 1997 and having held a number of prior roles within Belfast Harbour including Commercial Manager, Port Manager and Commercial Director.

Prior to joining the Port, Joe held positions with Undus Ltd and Cantrell and Cochrane Ltd. Joe was previously Chairman of the MAC theatre in Belfast, stepping down on 31 December 2017.

Joe is a board member of the Simon Community and the UK Major Ports Group; a member of the University of Ulster Economic Policy Centre, CBI Regional Council, the Centre for Competitiveness and a Council Member of the British Ports Association, is Chair of Renewed Ambition Real Estate Initiative and is a member of Belfast City Council’s Growth and Innovation Commission.

Councillor Ciaran Beattie


Councillor Ciaran Beattie is a full time member of the council and represents the Black Mountain Electoral Area. He is a member of the People and Communities Committee and the City Growth and Regeneration Committee. He does not hold any other public appointments.
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Ciaran Beattie
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Jane Chambers

Jane Chambers

Board Member

Jane Chambers was first appointed to the Board in February 2016. She is a Chartered Civil Engineer, Chartered Environmentalist and Chartered Water and Environmental Manager holding a Masters’ Degree in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University, Belfast.

Jane has had a long career in both contracting and consultancy environments, specialising in environmental protection and major infrastructure delivery. Currently, Jane is working as a project manager in the delivery of the Greater Dublin Drainage project for Irish Water. Previously, she delivered project management services for Water Service / Northern Ireland Water and, ultimately, eliminated risks of Infraction Proceedings being instigated by the European Commission for non-compliance with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

Diana Fitzsimons

Board Member

Diana Fitzsimons was first appointed to the Board in February 2016. She is an FRTPI planner and an FRICS development surveyor, having formerly worked in N. Ireland as a Senior Lecturer in Planning & Development; as a Principal Commissioner with the Planning Appeals Commission; as Office Director of the planning consultancy Turley; and as a sole practitioner planning consultant.

She has extensive practical experience in urban regeneration, port planning, housing development and mixed use master planning. She was formerly Chair of both the RTPI and the RICS NI Branches; a member of RICS Governing Council; a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group; deputy President of the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP); Co-Chair of the UN Habitats Professionals’ Forum; and Deputy Chair of the charity Lionheart. She is currently Chair of Radius Housing Association; an IFHP Council Member; a member of the RICS Awards Panel; and a Visiting Professor in the Built Environment at Ulster University.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Diana Fitzsimons
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Deborah Lange

Deborah Lange

Board Member

Deborah was first appointed to the Board in February 2016. Deborah is also Deputy Chair of the Board and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee of Invest NI. Deborah is a Certified Public Accountant. Previously she was Senior Vice President of Tax at Oracle Corporation based in California. She was also a member of the boards of Planitax and Liquid Engines, both software companies; Chair of the Silicon Valley Tax Directors Group; past Chair of the Tax Committee of the American Electronics Association and a member of the Executive Committee of the Tax Executive Institute. Deborah is a past member of the Board of Queen’s University Belfast Foundation.

Councillor Malachai O'HAra

Board Member

Cllr Malachai O’Hara joined the Board in April 2020 and is a full time member of Belfast City Council. He is the party’s group leader for the Green Party at Belfast City Hall and represents the Castle District Electoral Area. He is a member of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee, Planning Committee and the North Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership. Malachai is the Deputy Leader of the Green Party in Northern Ireland and a board member of a regional mental health charity.
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Cllr Malachai O’Hara
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Emmet McDonough-Brown

Councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown

Board Member

Cllr Emmet McDonough-Brown is a full time member of Belfast City Council. He is a member of the Alliance Party at Belfast City Hall and represents the Botanic Electoral Area.

He is a member of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee. Emmet is also appointed to the Belfast Policing and Community Safety Partnership; The Lyric Theatre Education Advisory Panel and the South Belfast District Policing and Community Safety Partnership.

Gerry McGinn CBE

Board Member

Gerry McGinn was appointed to the Board in April 2021. An experienced business leader, he has been CEO of Bank of Ireland UK, First Trust Bank and the Irish Nationwide Building Society, as well as Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and the former Department for Regional Development. Gerry is an Independent Non-Executive Director of AXA Insurance dac and the Progressive Building Society. He is the current Chair of the Strategic Investment Board and previously Chair of Capita Asset Services Ireland and a Board member of Invest NI.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Gerry McGinn
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Donal Lyons

Councillor Donal Lyons

Board Member

A native of Dublin, Donal has lived in Belfast for 15 years and has represented Balmoral as councillor since 2015.

After studying Chemistry at University College Dublin, Donal worked in Dail Eireann, before building a career in public policy and human rights.

He is SDLP Group leader on Belfast City Council and a former Chairperson of the Planning Committee and the City Growth and Regeneration Committee. Donal has particular interest in lifelong learning and serves as vice chair of the board of Libraries NI. He is married with three daughters.

Noel Lavery CB

Board Member

Noel Lavery was the Permanent Secretary of the former Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, followed by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and prior to his retirement the Department for Economy, these positions were between March 2013 and November 2019.  He has nearly 20 years of experience of economic development working in public sector policy, delivery and governance roles. He trained as a chartered accountant with PriceWaterhouse and the first 15 years of his career were in the private sector. He has been a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland since 1995.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Noel Lavery
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Sir Malcolm McKibbin

Sir Malcolm McKibbin

Board Member

Sir Malcolm McKibbin was Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service from 2011 to 2017. He was the Permanent Secretary of the former Departments of Regional Development and Agriculture and Rural Development, and following his retirement led one of the five strands in the 2019 political negotiations aimed at restoring devolution. He is an Associate of Deloitte providing advice on Strategic Projects and a member of the Board of Co-operation Ireland.

Kevin Kingston

Board Member

Kevin Kingston has been Chief Executive of Danske Bank since 2015, having previously been Deputy Chief Executive and Managing Director of Corporate & Business Banking. He is a former President of the NI Chamber of Commerce & Industry and a former Chairman of the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society. He is currently a Board Member of Invest and he is also a Board Member of Business in the Community and the Maritime Belfast Trust.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Kevin Kingston
Belfast Harbour - The Board - Rose Mary Stalker

Rose Mary Stalker

Board Member

Rose Mary Stalker is an experienced business leader and Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, who has held senior global positions at Executive Team and Board level, in organisations including Ford, Boeing and Rolls-Royce. She has been responsible for the delivery of multiple transformational projects in a range of disciplines; product development, programme management, manufacturing, logistics, service delivery, staffing and quality, across numerous industry sectors; aerospace, automotive, construction and energy. Rose Mary is the Chair of Invest Northern Ireland, appointed in August 2019, and joined the Economy Minister’s Economic Advisory Group in June 2020. She has also been a Member of the Department of International Trade’s Investment Trade Advisory Group since August 2020.

Stephen MArtin OBE QPM

Board Member

Stephen Martin OBE QPM was a police officer in Northern Ireland for nearly 34 years. He retired as Deputy Chief Constable in January 2020, having had responsibility for a number of areas which included: governance, performance, organisational change and professional standards. He is currently Chair of the Irish Football Association, a member of the Policing Authority, Ireland and also sits on the Prince’s Trust Northern Ireland advisory committee. Stephen is a Chartered Director and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and he holds an MBA with Ulster University.

Belfast Harbour - The Board - Stephen Martin