GILFORD woman Mary Quinn said she was “deeply honoured, humbled and thrilled” to have received the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Mrs Quinn (56) is the Head of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Division with the DSD, having overseen its transformation from the controversial Child Support Agency.
Under her leadership the organisation has moved away from historic debt collection to a more positive role in getting what is best for children.
She was also responsible for the recent ad campaign which aimed at getting people to see child support more positively.
Mary said: The old policies in place were draconian at times, we have moved away to be more helpful and encourage a better outcome.
“We are trying to show people they’re your children and it’s up to you to look after them.”
She has been with the civil service for 40 years, starting at the most junior rank and is soon to take early retirement: “This is a wonderful way to close my career.”
Mary has two children, Paul and Sinead and described herself as a doting grandmother to Molly (who is 15 months old).
Of the award she said: “This is not just a personal award but a tribute to a highly motivated and dedicated staff in the civil service.
“People are going the extra mile to deliver essential services.”
She pointed out staff were also delivering back office support to the English civil service: “It’s a good showcase for Northern Ireland and is very important to our economy.”
Following the announcement of her award Mary said she had been bowled over by the good will and support of her own community in Gilford and the wider community.
She said: “It’s good to see the pleasure it has given people, very humbling.”
Of her career in the civil service she said: “I started when I was 16 and through hard work and conscientiousness it is possible to do well.”
It’s not the first time Mary’s hard work has been recognised. In 2008 she received the Women in Public Life Leader of the Year award