The Secretary of State, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has today announced the new appointment to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Right Honourable Chris Heaton-Harris MP, has announced the appointment of Jim McCooe to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.

Mr McCooe will take up the appointment with effect from 1 May 2024 for a period of three years.


The Equality Commission was established in 1999, as part of the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. It took over the functions of the Fair Employment Commission, Equal Opportunities Commission, and Council for Racial Equality and Northern Ireland Disability Council.

The Commission is responsible for policing the Statutory Duty on all public authorities in Northern Ireland to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity across a range of areas including religion, political opinion, gender, race, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability and those with and without dependants. The Commission is funded and sponsored by The Executive Office.  

Further information about the work of the Commission can be found at:

Biography of Appointee

Jim McCooe is currently a non-executive director and Chair of the Audit Committee at the Department for Health Northern Ireland. He also holds the Business Improvement Director position at Healthy Kidz. Formerly he was a senior executive at Lloyds Banking Group and held a number of board positions including Trustee of Halifax Foundation and Marlay Trust.

Terms of appointment

  • This position is part-time for a period of three years ending on 30 April 2027.
  • The position receives a fixed annual remuneration of £5,000.
  • The position is not pensionable.

Political Activity

All appointments are made on merit and with regards to the statutory requirements. Political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity in defined categories to be made public. 

Mr McCooe has declared that he has not been politically active in the past five years. 


The appointment process has been regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointment (OCPA) and all stages of the process were overseen by an independent panel member.  

Statutory Requirements

The Secretary of State makes appointments to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland in accordance with the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Published 12 April 2024