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14th June 2024

Roy Bailie, Chairman of Northern Ireland Opera, awarded CBE for services to the economy and opera in Northern Ireland.

One of Northern Ireland’s most significant lifetime contributors to public life and civic society has been awarded in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024.

Roy Bailie, Chairman of NI Opera, receives a CBE for Services to the Economy and Opera in Northern Ireland.

Tasked by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland to set up a new opera company in 2010, Roy has guided NI Opera to deliver productions winning international acclaim, develop and nurture numerous young local singers and create multiple spin-off benefits for allied suppliers.

Cameron Menzies, NI Opera’s Artistic Director, said, “Roy’s impact on opera in Northern Ireland is almost immeasurable.  His extensive business expertise, visionary thinking and dogged determination have resulted in an opera company of which Northern Ireland can be justly proud.  He has taken a traditional artform and given his team the freedom to think laterally and beyond the limits of preconceived ideas.  He has also created a Young Artist’s Programme to encourage young local singers to develop their talent.  His pragmatic approach alongside generous and unlimited hours of his time have enabled us to reach a whole new audience for the artform.  Roy is such a worthy recipient of this prestigious award.”

Over a career spanning 60 years, Roy is a highly respected business leader and entrepreneur.  In 1996, Roy was awarded an OBE for services to printing.  He grew his company, the Baird Group, to become the fifth biggest and privately owned printing group in the UK, before leading the business in a transformation from print to professional services.  Bailie Group now focuses on software development, data analytics and cyber security, employing 450 people in UK, Europe and USA.  The British Printing Industry Federation awarded Roy a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Roy has also played an invaluable part in promoting Northern Ireland both at home and abroad.  He became the first person from Northern Ireland to be appointed to the Court of the Bank of England; was Chair of the NI Tourist Board; NI Chair of the Confederation of British Industry; Director of UTV plc; Chair of the National Trust.  He was also appointed to the Court of Directors of the Bank of Ireland and chaired its Audit Committee.

He is currently Chair of Binevenagh Coastal Lowlands Landscape Partnership which aims to create new walks and access to one of Northern Ireland’s most remote and beautiful coastal regions.

Roy is also a real advocate for young people and was Chairman of Queen’s University Students’ Union Management Board from 2009-2016.  He has been a member of Queen’s University Senate since 2018.

Roy Bailie said, “I am completely overwhelmed by this award which I would like to share with my colleagues at NI Opera.  I could not be more proud of what this small but extremely professional and effective company has achieved both on the local and international stage.  I would also like to pay tribute to my wife Paddy and my family for their unswerving support throughout every aspect of my career.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “A warm congratulations to Roy Bailie on being awarded a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List 2024.  Roy Bailie has made an enormous contribution to opera and artistic life in Northern Ireland and fully deserves this great honour.”