Appointments made to the Board of the Middletown Centre for Autism Limited

The following appointments have been made by the Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, for a term of three years, taking effect from 16 March 2016.

Directors: Mrs Dorothy Angus, Ms Sharon Beattie and Mrs Irene Murphy.   

Mrs Angus lives in Bangor and was Director of Access, Inclusion and Well Being in the Department of Education from 2005 to 2012. Policy responsibilities included special educational needs, child protection and the promotion of pupil emotional health and wellbeing. Mrs Angus also held posts at director level in DFP and OFMDFM. She is a volunteer with Business in the Community’s ‘Time to Read’ scheme and with Childline Schools Service. Mrs Angus brings to the Board skills in the field of business planning and organisational development. She does not hold any other public appointments.

Ms Beattie lives in Crumlin and worked as Head of Strategic Partnerships in PSNI and as Director of Operations for the Safeguarding Board NI. She is a member of the Board of Trustees for the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (BASPCAN), National Treasurer for the Association and Chair of the Finance Committee on a voluntary basis. Ms Beattie brings to the Board skills in the field of financial administration, management and accountability. She currently holds one other public appointment as a school governor for which she receives no remuneration.

Mrs Murphy lives in Greyabbey and has held posts as Head of the Disablement Advisory Service (DAS) in the Training and Employment Agency; Head of Special Education Team (SET) and then the Special Education and Inclusion Review Team both within the Department of Education. Mrs Murphy has worked on a voluntary basis as secretary to the Belfast branch of the National Deaf Children’s Society. Mrs Murphy brings to the Board skills in the field of special education and autistic spectrum disorders. She does not hold any other public appointments.

Reappointed Director: Mrs Christine Sheridan.

Mrs Sheridan lives in Belfast and has worked as a Personnel Manager at the NI Housing Executive and was also seconded to the University of Ulster for a year as an Employee Relations Advisor. Mrs Sheridan brings to the Board a range of skills and experience in the field of human resources. Mrs Sheridan’s previous term as a Director of the Board was from 16 December 2013 to 15 March 2016. She does not hold any other public appointments.

Chair: Professor Mary Hanratty.

Prof Hanratty lives in Dungannon and has worked as Director of Nursing and Midwifery Education for the Southern and Eastern Health and Social Service Boards, and brings to the Board skills and experience in the development and management of education programmes in the care of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Prof Hanratty was vice Chair of the Board from 21 October 2013 to 15 March 2016. She does not hold any other public appointments.


1. The Middletown Centre for Autism is a joint North-South initiative with funding provided by the Department of Education in the north (DE) and the Department of Education and Skills in the south (DES) to support the promotion of excellence in the development and harmonisation of education and allied services to children and young people with autistic spectrum disorders.

2. Both DE and DES are each responsible for appointing four members to the Centre’s Board of Directors. In addition, each Department appoints either the Chair or Vice-Chair on a rotating basis.

3. Directors are remunerated at a rate of £160 per day with an estimated workload of 1-2 days per month. The Chair remuneration rate is £230 per day with an estimated workload of 2-3 days per month.

4. All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. Each of the appointees has declared that they have not undertaken any political activity within the last five years.