An Erne North UUP councillor has been appointed as a Special Advisor to Health Minister, Robin Swann.

Councillor Mark Ovens announced this new role at Tuesday night’s full Council meeting, which he will undertake alongside duties as an elected representative.

Declaration of interest

Council Chair, Thomas O’Reilly, asked if any members wished to make a declaration of interest.

In response to the question, Councillor Ovens, who was elected to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council following the local elections in May of last year said: “Earlier in week I was appointed Special Advisor to the Minister of Health.

“I know that will cause some slight challenges perhaps in terms of declarations of interest, and I will try to declare as necessary through meetings.

“This will be ongoing in terms of any decisions related with health, or health department, or the Trust.”


Following the announcement, Sinn Féin councillor, Barry McElduff, queried: “Nothing personal, but I wish to enquire about local government and regulations, there may be none, around the appointment of a Special Advisor while being a councillor?”

In response, Council Chief Executive, Alison McCullagh said: “There is nothing to prevent a member serving as a councillor and Special Advisor, and it’s up to the member to look at potential conflicts of interest.”


Of Councillor Ovens’ appointment, Sinn Féin councillor, Sheamus Greene, saw the positives in it.

He said: “I am delighted to hear that, as we have a fast track straight to the Minister’s office. I am looking forward to bright things for SWAH, and Fermanagh and Omagh in general.”