New Chair of Safety Technical Group appointed

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure has announced the appointment of Danny McSorley as Chair of the Safety Technical Group (STG).

The STG was established by Sport NI in 2012, at the request of DCAL, to provide support and advice on health and safety aspects of the design of the three stadia which comprise the department’s Regional Stadia Programme, namely the Kingspan Stadium (Ravenhill), Windsor Park and Casement Park.

An independent Project Assessment Review (PAR) of the Stadia Programme, led by the Cabinet Office, reported in August of this year, making 20 recommendations, one of which was that there should be ‘an independent person appointed to chair the STG’.

Danny McSorley has now been appointed to the role following an open competition. Mr McSorley was Chief Executive of Omagh District Council from April 2001 and Interim Chief Executive of Strabane District Council from 2011 to 2015. He has led a number of significant initiatives spanning corporate planning, infrastructure development, economic and community programmes.

Welcoming the announcement, the Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “The Safety Technical Group has a crucial role to play in the design of the new stadia and, with Kingspan Stadium completed and Windsor Park progressing very well, the primary role of the Group will now be in relation to Casement Park.

“While the Casement Park project has been delayed for a variety of reasons, the key finding of the PAR team was that it can be built on the existing site. The input of the STG will be pivotal in the progression of the development and the experience and acumen of Danny McSorley will be vital in ensuring that this is an effective group delivering timely and high-quality advice. The PAR Team also recommended that DCAL should draw up a Partnership Agreement that defines the behaviours and working relationships expected of STG members, and new Terms of Reference for the STG. My officials have worked with the organisations represented on the STG to do so, and I will now share these with Danny for review before I finalise them.

“I welcome Danny’s appointment and wish him every success in helping to bring the Casement Park project to fruition.”

The Minister also paid tribute to the work of outgoing Chair Paul Scott and said he remained an integral part of the team.

She said: “Paul has played an important role in providing technical advice and guidance in relation to the stadia programme and, as Casement Park progresses, he will continue to play an important role. Although the skill-set of the chair of the group has been redefined, Paul’s safety and technical expertise will remain vital to the STG and to the overall project.”

Notes to editors:

1. Daniel (Danny) McSorley is a Chartered Civil Engineer. He worked for 10 years in Roads Service before transferring to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development being appointed Chief Executive of Rivers Agency in 1996. He has spent the last 16 years working in Local Government until his retirement earlier this year. He served as Chief Executive of Strabane District Council for two years before his appointment as Chief Executive of Omagh District Council in 2001. He was Chief Executive of both Councils from 2011 to 2015. Mr McSorley has been heavily involved in developing and taking forward an extensive programme of regeneration in Omagh, Strabane and the wider north-west region. More recently, he has played a leading role in supporting Local Government Reform and developing a Local Government led approach to securing improvement and efficiency through collaborative working. He was awarded the OBE in the 2015 New Year’s Honours for services to Local Government. He has no political affiliations.