Armagh Observatory and Planetarium has made five new appointments to its Management Committee.

Three of the appointments of Mr Paul Kennedy, Dr Kirstin Lemon, and Mr Eugene Rooney, were made by Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey MLA and are effective from 1 March until 28 February 2026.  Other new appointees are Dr Caitriona Jackman and Dr Matt Darnley, to represent the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies and the Science and Technology Facilities Council respectively.  These appointments are effective from 1 January to 31 December 2025.

Constructed in 1790, Armagh Observatory remains the oldest scientific institution in Northern Ireland and continues to function as an astronomical research centre, conducting internationally recognised frontline scientific research.

The Planetarium is the longest running planetarium in the British Isles having opened in 1968. As well asbeing a major visitor attraction and a key driver for the local economy, it provides extensive educational programmes, many of which have been delivered online during lockdown.  It is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 and has undergone a major refurbishment during the closure.

The new management committee members bring with them extensive experience from a range of different backgrounds.

Paul Kennedy is a Civil Servant in the Department of Infrastructure, through which he has gained experience relating to complex financial transactions and sponsorship responsibilities for Arm’s-Length Bodies while Kirstin Lemon is a senior geoscientist and member of the Senior Leadership Team at the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.  In this role, she has experience of promoting good governance, strategic planning and establishing goals and objectives.

Eugene Rooney is a former Senior Civil Servant who has held a variety of senior positions in a number of Government Departments.  He has extensive experience of governance and financial and performance management.  Matt Darnley is a Reader in Time Domain Astrophysics and Head of Teaching at the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University.

Caitriona Jackman is an Honorary Professor at the Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) where she holds a Science Foundation Ireland President of Ireland Future Research Leaders award and heads a group researching Planetary Magnetospheres.

Remote meeting

Chair of Armagh Observatory and Planetarium Management Committee, John Briggs said he was delighted to welcome the name committee members.

“The calibre of our new management committee members is extremely high, and we are excited about the contribution our new colleagues will bring to Armagh Observatory and Planetarium.  These positions are unpaid and requite a time commitment of 12 days per year.”


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