Probe into resignation of museums boss

Tim Cooke resigned as director of National Museums Northern Ireland last month
Tim Cooke resigned as director of National Museums Northern Ireland last month

An investigation into an alleged “serious breach of procedure” led to the sudden resignation of the head of museums in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.

Tim Cooke stood down as the chief executive of National Museums Northern Ireland (NMNI) four weeks ago.

Tim Cooke, director of National Museums Northern Ireland

Tim Cooke, director of National Museums Northern Ireland

Before accepting the £105,000 per year post in 2003 he was the head of broadcasting at BBC NI – having previously worked as a BBC editor and journalist in both Belfast and London.

Mr Cooke cited personal reasons for leaving when he announced his resignation last month. Yesterday, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL), said: “DCAL has commenced an investigation into the issues understood to be behind his resignation and this is ongoing.”

NMNI employs almost 300 people and is also responsible for several other attractions including the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

A spokesman for NMNI said: “An internal investigation was being initiated following an allegation of a serious breach of procedure by Mr Cooke. As a result Mr Cooke resigned on November 25. DCAL officials have initiated an investigation into the circumstances of the matter.”

The spokesman added: “National Museums Northern Ireland is currently in the process of appointing an acting director and chief executive in advance of the position being filled permanently.”