An Irvinestown man has been appointed as one of four new members to the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute.

The Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew has announced the appointment of Mr. Seamus McCaffrey from Irvinetown, along with Mr Trevor Hinds, Mr Alan McKeown and Mrs Hilda Stewart. Mr Kieran Campbell and Dr Michael Hollywood have been re-appointed for a one year period to provide their expertise in finance related matters.

Confirming the appointments, the Minister said: "AFBI has been established for four years now and continues to provide expertise in agri-food and biosciences. The Board provides and communicates strategic direction and promotes good governance. I am confident the new and re-appointed Board members will make a major contribution to the important task of leading this world class centre of scientific excellence." Mr Seamus McCaffrey is a practising accountant and a livestock farmer at Irvinestown. He is Chairman of Business in the Community's Western Team and a member of the Western 'Investing for Health Partnership', representing the interests of the private sector along with other members from the statutory and voluntary sectors. Mr McCaffrey is immediate Past Chairman of the Ireland-Poland Business Association, an all-island trade association.

All appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner of Public Appointments (CPANI) Code of Practice. All appointments to the Institute are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for the political activity of appointees (if any declared) to be published. No political activity has been declared by any appointee.

AFBI was established on 1 April 2006 under The Agriculture (NI) Order 2004, as an Executive non-departmental public body sponsored by Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

AFBI is responsible for the provision of scientific programmes in the areas of agri-food, animal and plant health, fisheries and the environment, providing access to specialist expertise and providing facilities to private and public sector bodies for contracted scientific services. AFBI employs approximately 870 people across seven sites and it has an annual operating budget of approximately £50million.

AFBI Board members are expected to commit in the region of 15 days per year to these posts and will receive a remuneration of £3,745. The current terms and conditions are under review. Other Ministerial appointments held by the new and re-appointed members have been detailed.