Tributes have been paid to former agricultural research and education advisory board chairman Dr. Alan Lennon, OBE.

Dr. Lennon passed away at his home in Ballynahinch, Co. Down on Friday night.

Lennon was a past chairman of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) sponsored Research and Education Advisory Panel (REAP) from 2005 until 2009.

The board was set up in response to the recommendations made by the independent O’Hare review of agri-food education, research and development in Northern Ireland in 2002. However, it was stood down in 2010 due to “changes in the strategic environment”.

Work with REAP

A spokesman for the department said: “It is with great sadness that DAERA has learned of the passing of Dr. Alan Lennon.

“As chairman of the former DARD Research and Education Advisory Panel, Dr. Lennon led the provision of advice and guidance on the preparation of DAERA’s first Evidence and Innovation Strategy.

During his period as a DARD non-executive director, he oversaw a strategic review of educational facilities at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE).

“Our sincere condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.”


Lennon was awarded an OBE for his services to education in the 2008 New Year’s Honours.

He graduated from Queens University, Belfast with a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering, followed by a doctorate in Material Science.

Lennon was also a visiting professor at Ulster Business School and sat on several other boards throughout his career, including a six-year stint on the Invest NI board.

Extensive insights

Mark Ennis, Invest NI chairman said: “It was with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Alan over the weekend.

“Alan made a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland economy with a successful track record in the private sector and a strong sense of public service, including his time as a board member of Invest NI from 2008 to 2014.

“During his tenure, he enthusiastically provided wise counsel and extensive insights, which were invaluable to myself and the other board members. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, added: “Alan brought a lifetime of business knowledge and expertise to the board of Invest NI, particularly in the areas of change management, leadership and business performance which provided positive strategic challenge, and contributed greatly in the formative stage of our current strategy.”