Graduations 2003: High Honours for Deep Thinkers

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), July 3, 2003 | Go to article overview

Graduations 2003: High Honours for Deep Thinkers


ONE of Northern Ireland's most distinguished public servants and an esteemed Antrim-born philosopher were awarded honorary doctorates yesterday by the University of Ulster.

Dr Maurice Hayes was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) for his services to public life in Northern Ireland, while Baroness Onora O'Neill received her award for her clarity of thought and expression addressed to real issues.

Dr Hayes began his career as town clerk of the local council in Downpatrick.

"There were few, one suspects, who gave much thought to the topic of community relations at the time, but he did, fostering civic weeks in Downpatrick in an attempt to bring together the two communities.

"It was a far-sighted move, and, for him, a fateful one,'' Provost of Magee Professor Tom Fraser said.

Dr Hayes then joined the civil service, where he rose to be head of personnel from 1981 to 1984, and, then, Permanent Secretary in the Department of Health and Social Services from 1984 to 1987.

He was then appointed the Northern Ireland Ombudsman, but has also held a number of other public positions.

He was the first chairman of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Commission, assistant secretary in the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive and adviser to the chairman of the Northern Ireland Constitutional Convention.

Dr Hayes was also appointed to the Irish Senate and is a director of Independent News and Media. …

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