Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots has announced an extension to the term of appointment for seven members of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) board.

The appointment of board members Michelle Costello-Smith; Theresa Cullen; Fiona Hanna; Richard Horton; Joan Houston; Sharon Smyth; and Richard Solomon, will all be extended until April 30, 2022.

They were all initially appointed on April 1, 2016, for a first term of three years. This was then followed by a second term of two years from April 1, 2019, and a nine-month extension until December 31, 2021.

Minister Poots said: “These extensions will provide continuity to the AFBI board during a period of transition, allowing new members time to bed in, and enable AFBI to continue with its important function of undertaking scientific work for DAERA.”

11 new members appointed to AFBI board

Last week, the minister announced the appointment of 11 new members to the board of AFBI.

The new members will serve three-year terms, with two different time brackets.

From December 1, 2021 to November 30, 2024, the following appointees will sit on the AFBI board:

Tom Tynan; Sally Shortall; Tom Wright; Tim McClelland; Ian Murphy; Alan Moore; Daphne Johnston; and David Campbell.

From May 1, 2022 to April 30, 2025, Martyn Blair, William Montgomery and Thérèse Rafferty will serve their term.

“AFBI undertakes scientific, testing and research work in fields of agriculture, animal health and welfare, food, fisheries, forestry, rural development and enterprise, with a particular emphasis on the natural environment,” Minister Poots said last week as he made the announcement.

“The skills and experience of the incoming members in business and governance matters will provide leadership and guidance to AFBI as they continue their important work.

“I welcome the appointments of all the new incoming members of the AFBI board. Each will bring a variety of different and important skills which will benefit the board’s future development.”