Northern Ireland

Knighthood for PSNI chief constable George Hamilton

George Hamilton Image copyright PA
Image caption George Hamilton was appointed chief constable of the PSNI five years ago

Northern Ireland's top police officer has been awarded a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

George Hamilton is among more than 70 people from Northern Ireland to receive honours.

Mr Hamilton joined the RUC in 1985 and has been chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) since June 2014.

On twitter on Saturday, he said he was "delighted" to receive the honour.

Feargal Sharkey receives an OBE for services to music. Once the lead singer with The Undertones, he went on to have a successful solo career.

Image caption Feargal Sharkey in 1978, when The Undertones appeared on Top of the Pops

He subsequently took on a number of public roles as a member of the Radio Authority and as head of UK Music, representing the interests of the UK commercial music industry.

Meanwhile, one of Ireland's most famous priests is to receive an OBE.

Image caption Fr Brian D'Arcy became familiar to Radio 2 listeners through his presence on the station's breakfast show with Terry Wogan and Chris Evans

Fr Brian D'Arcy describes himself as a Passionist priest, author, newspaper columnist and broadcaster, and his voice is familiar to listeners of BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio 2.

In the past, Fr D'Arcy has spoken out against mandatory celibacy for priests, church teaching on contraception and has been a vocal critic of the handling of clerical sexual abuse.

When offered the honour, he said he checked with fellow Fermanagh man Viscount Brookeborough who told him it would be for services to cross-community relations.

"You had to say 'yes' if that's what it was for," Fr D'Arcy said, adding that as a Christian he should be doing it anyway.

Image caption Richard Williams has taken a lead role in developing the film industry in Northern Ireland

The growing importance of the film industry in Northern Ireland is acknowledged with an OBE for Richard Williams, the chief executive of Northern Ireland Screen.

The body has taken a lead role in developing the industry in the past decade.

Under his leadership, Northern Ireland Screen developed the Paint Hall in Belfast's Titanic Quarter as a film studio which became home for HBO's blockbuster drama series, Game of Thrones.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Police Ombudsman Dr Michael Maguire is due to leave the post next month

The outgoing Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, has been awarded a CBE for services to justice.

Before becoming ombudsman in July 2012, Dr Maguire was chief inspector of the Criminal Justice Inspectorate.

During his time in office, he has had to deal with numerous controversial issues, including the police inquiries into the killing of Robert McCartney by the IRA in 2005, and the murder of five people at a Sean Grahams' Bookmakers' shop in 1992.

It was the alleged theft of files connected to the Loughinisland killings from the ombudsman's office that led to the arrest of journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey last year, and the seizure of documents from their homes and office.

Image caption Kieran Donnelly heads the Northern Ireland Audit Office

Another of Northern Ireland's most prominent public servants becomes a companion of the Order of the Bath (CB).

Kieran Donnelly has been Comptroller and Auditor General since 2009.

He heads the Northern Ireland Audit Office, which ensures value-for-money in the spending of public finances.

Under his leadership, the Audit Office has issued reports on matters such as the health service, prisons, schools and the controversial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) Scheme.

The honours system

Image copyright PA
  • Companion of Honour - Recipients wear the initials CH after their name. Limited to 65 people
  • CMG - Order of St Michael & St George
  • Knight or Dame
  • CBE - Commander of the Order of the British Empire
  • OBE - Officer of the Order of the British Empire
  • MBE - Member of the Order of the British Empire
  • BEM - British Empire Medal

The majority of recipients of the 2019 Birthday Honours are people who have undertaken outstanding work in their communities across Northern Ireland and in spheres as diverse as textile art, cancer care, scouting and mental health services.

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