About the Department

The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) is responsible for arts and creativity, museums, libraries, sport, inland waterways and inland fisheries, linguistic diversity, archives, and for advising on National Lottery distribution.

The Department also draws on the expertise of the Education and Training Inspectorate.

Our vision and mission

The DCAL mission is

"To promote social and economic equality, and to tackle poverty and social exclusion, through systematically promoting a sustainable economic model and proactively targeting meaningful resources at sectors of greatest inequality, within areas of greatest objective need, in the wider context of effectively developing tangible opportunities and measurable outcomes for securing excellence and equality across culture, arts and leisure, and a confident, creative, informed and healthy society in this part of Ireland.”

Core values

  • Dedication - to excellence and making a difference
  • Caring - about our customers, business partners, each other, our work, and the environment
  • Ability – professional, knowledgeable, creative
  • Leadership – which inspires

Management structure

The Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, has overall political responsibility and accountability for the Department's activities. She has set the strategic policy and resources framework for the department.

The Permanent Secretary and Accounting Officer for the Department is Dr Denis McMahon.  

DCAL Board

The work we do is organised and monitored by a Departmental Board.  This is chaired by the Permanent Secretary and includes:

  • Deputy Secretary, Cynthia Smith
  • the Directors of  Divisions: Culture*
  • Fergus Devitt (Director Sport, Museums and Recreation)
  • David Carson (Director Corporate Services)
  • Maggie Smith (Director PRONI)
  • Aidan Cassidy (Programme Director (Transition))
  • Joanna McConway (Director of Capital Portfolio)
  • John West (Independent Board Member)
  • Marie Mallon (Independent Board Member)

*A head of branch from Culture Division represents the Division on a temporary basis due to the Director of Culture post being temporarily vacant.

The Departmental Board meets on a monthly basis to examine and take forward the Department’s strategic aims and objectives, manage Departmental resources and monitor performance objectives.  It also sets the Department’s standards and values, maintains a transparent system of prudent and effective controls, assesses and manages risk and leads in organisational development.

Business plans and accounts

The Department's business plans, budgets and resource accounts can be accessed on the Publications page through the link below.


The Department's Equality Scheme can be viewed on the publications page through the link below.