Derek McCallan

Chief Executive

Derek McCallan has been Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since April 2011.  Derek is responsible for advising / supporting the NILGA political leaders, Executive and 90 elected members, taking forward policy and legislation as the representative body of the 11 councils, this includes negotiations with central government departments and agencies.  Derek represents NILGA within the Local Government Group as part of the UK / devolved assembly national body for councils and is contracted by various Departments fulfilling Strategic Migration, EU, Waste Management and other key services for the sector. Derek is a graduate in Politics and English from Trinity College, Dublin, and enjoys walking, running, cycling, wine, cheese and Private Eye.

Karen Smyth

Head of Policy & Governance

Karen Smyth has worked in a policy role for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since 2002, and as Head of Policy since 2008. She takes a particular interest in policy on planning, regeneration, and the circular economy in addition to policy on local government structure, operation and finance.

Karen has a background in Environmental Health and worked in councils as an EHO for ten years prior to taking up her post at NILGA. She is currently a non-executive director of Sustainable NI and has held similar directorships on a number of other organisations over the years, including Building Change Trust. Karen holds a BSc(Hons) in Environmental Health and a Masters Degree in Business Administration.

Lisa O’Kane

Programmes Manager – Partnerships & Investment

Lisa took up the role of Programmes Manager (Partnerships & Investment) in May 2017 and is responsible for the development of policy and initiatives on Brexit, the local economy, EU issues and broadband. Lisa manages the iEER Interreg project and the work of the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership. Lisa has 16 years experience in local government in the economic development, regeneration, tourism and large scale events fields. A graduate in European Business Studies, she spent seven years in Brussels as a public affairs consultant, lobbying on behalf of the financial services industry.

Mark Maher

Communications & Engagement Officer

Implementation and management of external and internal communications. Working with senior council representatives, elected members, the main political parties and key government departments to deliver collective and respective opinions on Local Government, representing the voice of the sector.

Diane Anderson

Business Support Officer

Diane has worked for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since June 1992 and has had various administrative roles during this time. Diane is responsible for the management and control of NILGA’s financial accounts, together with maintaining an internal HR administrative and co-ordination service to the Chief Executive.

Fiona Douglas

Regional Development Officer

Fiona Douglas has worked for NILGA since August 2016 in the role of Regional Policy and Development Officer.  Fiona coordinates regional elected member development and the related Charter accreditation arrangements as well as the Regional Elected Member Community Planning and Wellbeing Working Group.   Fiona also provides public policy analysis, support and research at NILGA.

Sarah Little

Business Services Officer

Sarah Little has worked for the Northern Ireland Local Government Association since April 2008 and has been in the role of Business Services Officer from 2009.
Sarah’s main role is to administer NILGA’s Full Members and Executive Meetings which occur on a bi-monthly and monthly basis, as well as provide a Personal Assistant role to the Chief Executive.

Antoinette Kennedy

Regional Project Officer

Antoinette has worked for NILGA since June 2009.  She co-ordinates initiatives including the Central-Local Government Elected Member Forum and provides project support for Interreg iEER.  Antoinette also provides secretariat for NILGA’s Working Groups, Executive and Full Membership.

Mary Kerr

NISMP Policy Officer

Mary Kerr is policy officer with the Northern Ireland Strategic Migration Partnership (NISMP) -

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