Seasoned comms pro Deeny has taken up the role at the Northern Ireland Office, which has the dual role of ensuring the nation’s interests are effectively represented at Westminster and that the Government’s responsibilities are fully delivered in Northern Ireland.
Based in Belfast, Deeny has been appointed for a three-year period, during which time he will work within the UK Government’s plan, entitled Northern Ireland’s Objectives 2015-2020.
These include making politics work better by helping improve the effectiveness of the devolved institutions, a more secure Northern Ireland, a growing economy and a stronger society with cohesive communities.
Deeny has an illustrious record in comms in Northern Ireland, having spent almost 14 years as the head of corporate communications at Belfast City Council, focusing on positive opportunities for coverage after the turbulence of the Troubles.
During his time at the award-winning local authority team, he instigated a review of its comms strategy, led on the comms and marketing of the MTV European Music Awards in Belfast in 2011, and worked with partners and sponsors on the in-house comms for the 2015 Tall Ships Race, part of the Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival and one of the largest events ever held in the city.
Before moving to Belfast City Council in 2003, Deeny spent seven years at the Northern Ireland Assembly, his stint spanning a time of major change for the region.
From 1995 to 1998, Deeny’s role as senior information officer at the Department of the Environment, with responsibility for all media matters relating to planning, roads and water, was during the period when Northern Ireland was under direct rule from the UK government.
However, under Northern Ireland’s devolution in 1998, Deeny became the principal information officer at the Department for Regional Development.
His job involved working as the press officer for a range of direct rule Conservative and Labour ministers and devolved ministers including Malcolm Moss, Mo Mowlam, Adam Ingram, Lord Alf Dubs, Angela Smith – now Lady Basildon – as well as Peter Robinson and Gregory Campbell.
The demanding role included handling media coverage of major events in relation to the civil unrest and subsequent peace process and at visits of world leaders.
Prior to that, Deeny worked as the Northern Ireland regional editor for the Post Office’s in-house staff newspaper, The Courier, and as the press officer for the Post Office Board.
He began his career as a local reporter at Northern Newspaper Group and the Herald and Post, now the Belfast Telegraph.