The Commissioners

John McBurney

IRC Commissioners (from left) John McBurney, Tim O'Connor, Monica McWilliams, Mitchell Reiss
John McBurney is a well-known solicitor in Northern Ireland. He qualified in 1979 and carries a wealth of experience in major litigation, commercial transactions, conveyancing and estate management. He established his Co. Down practise, John McBurney Solicitors, with the intention of seeing it develop through the enthusiasm of his dedicated team of young lawyers.   In December 2015 Mr McBurney was one of three persons tasked by the First and Deputy First Ministers to report on recommendations for a strategy to disband paramilitary groups, and was subsequently nominated to the Commission by the Northern Ireland Executive to report on progress towards that goal.

Monica McWilliams

Monica McWilliams is an academic and former politician. She is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Michigan and was Professor of Women’s Studies and Social Policy at the Ulster University.  She co-founded the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition and was elected to the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland from 1998 - 2003. She is a former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission from 2005 - 2011 and was one of three persons appointed in 2011 to a Prisons Reform Oversight Group advising the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.  In December 2015 Ms McWilliams was one of three persons tasked by the First and Deputy First Ministers to report on recommendations for a strategy to disband paramilitary groups, and was subsequently nominated to the Commission by the Northern Ireland Executive to report on progress towards that goal.

Tim O’Connor

Tim O’connor is a native of Kileedy in West Limerick. After a two-year stint as a teacher, he joined the Civil Service in Dublin in 1974, moving to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in 1979. Most of his DFA career was spent working on the Northern Ireland Peace Process and was part of the Irish Government Negotiating Team for the Good Friday Agreement. He has also served terms as Director of the Africa Unit and of the Human Rights Unit in the DFA. His foreign postings included the Embassies of Ireland in Bonn and Washington DC and from 2005-2007 he served as the Consul General of Ireland in New York, USA. He served as Secretary General to President Mary McAleese at Aras an Uachtarain from 2007 to 2010. Since retiring from the Civil Service in 2010, Tim has been dividing his time between his own advisory business and voluntary work, both in the public sector and with NGOs.

Mitchell Reiss   

Mitchell B Reiss is a former United States Special Envoy for Northern Ireland who is currently President and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia. He previously served on the US National Security Council, the US Council on Foreign Relations and has held positions with the Ford Foundation, the Cambridge Institute for Applied Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.