Project Team 

LEONARD AllanAllan LEONARD is a peace journalist and editor-in-chief of Shared Future News, which reports on peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. He served as managing director at the Northern Ireland Foundation, an independent charity established to promote peace and reconciliation, where he also gained international experience supporting programmes in other divided societies. His professional background includes project and staff management, fundraising, marketing and communication. Allan is co-founder and editor-in-chief at FactCheckNI, Northern Ireland’s first dedicated fact-checking service.

YOUNG EndaEnda YOUNG (Founder, Transformative Connections) is a highly experienced conflict resolution trainer, mediator and co-founder of TranConn. He has been involved in conflict resolution in Northern Ireland for over fourteen years. Enda holds an BEng in Mechanical Engineering and an MA from the Queen’s University of Belfast, which focused on the use of conflict transformation. He is a Rotary Peace Fellow, an RSA Fellow, a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellow and a member of Mediators Beyond Borders International. Enda has also worked with a wide variety of groups both locally and internationally in Dubai, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey, Canada and the United States.

YOUNG OrnaOrna YOUNG (Founder, Transformative Connections) holds a PhD in politics from Queen’s University Belfast and is co-founder of TranConn. Her expertise lies in bespoke research design, community based research, ethnographic and action research, report writing, and selected lecturing. Orna has previously lectured part-time at a local university, and also appears as a social and political commentator for the BBC and UTV.



DAVIS BlakeBlake DAVIS (FactCheckNI Writer/Researcher Intern) recently graduated from Queens University Belfast, where he earned an MSc (Hons) degree in Political Psychology, with a previous BS degree in Political Science and Communications from Lehigh University in the United States. He is concentrating his efforts on journalism now that he has an interest in world politics, especially that of the UK and more specifically, Northern Ireland. He draws his interest in fact-checking from the outbreak of so-called “fake news” in America. This makes him believe that projects like FackCheckNI are more important than ever all across the globe. His goal is to grow as a journalist and continue to search for the truth, so that citizens can not only be more informed, but more united in their search for a better society.

HOLLAND JennyJenny HOLLAND (Freelance Journalist) learned the importance of getting your facts right when doing A-levels at Methodist College Belfast in the early 1990’s. She’s done research for newspapers, magazines and academia in the USA, London and Northern Ireland. After studying English at Trinity College Dublin, she worked for three years in the busy metropolitan newsroom of The New York Times, where she learned the adage, “if your mother says she loves you, check it out.” She has a Masters Degree from the Department of War Studies at King’s College in London.

NORMAN JulieJulie NORMAN is a researcher, writer, consultant, and media trainer with over ten years of experience in conflict areas, and a PhD in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC. She is currently a Research Fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security, and Justice and a Lecturer of Politics at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB), with interests in human rights, security, and protracted conflict, and a focus on the Middle East region. Her research highlights the experiences of under-represented groups in conflict, including political prisoners, ex-combatants, youth, women, and refugees.

Advisory Panel 

BLYTHE RhyannonRhyannon BLYTHE currently works as for a national human rights institution, specialising in international human rights law. She is currently responsible for their programme of strategic litigation, advising government and civil society on human rights compliance and engaging with international human rights mechanisms. Rhyannon holds a LL.M in human rights and criminal justice and is a qualified barrister, having been called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2008. She also sits on the board of trustees for Victim Support NI.

MEBAN AlanAlan MEBAN is a prominent blogger in Northern Ireland and a previous winner of Slugger O’Toole’s Political Blogger of the Year award. Better known online as @alaninbelfast he posts about politics, processes, accountability and transparency on Slugger O’Toole. On his own blog, Alan in Belfast, he airs views and reviews about arts and culture. His Applied Mathematics degree is rarely used, even though he spent a lot of time crunching numbers in Excel in a corporate IT environment before going freelance in August 2015.

OLIVER QuintinQuintin OLIVER is a conflict resolution specialist with three decades experience from the voluntary, statutory and private sectors, working at all levels of government. In 1998, he set up and ran the successful cross-party “YES” Campaign for the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement Referendum, with important support from civic society. His conflict speciality began with anti-apartheid work in the 1970s, solidarity activity in the Middle East in the 1980s, and active involvement in applying appropriate lessons from Northern Ireland towards other regions, in the 1990s. Quintin enjoys close and productive relations with all political parties in Northern Ireland as an adviser, lobbyist and researcher.

PETO JohnJohn PETO is the Director of Education at the Nerve Centre, responsible for a range of projects that support Digital Creativity in Schools and Communities across Northern Ireland.  From a background in film and television production, John has overseen the establishment of Ireland’s first FabLabs, as well as operating the Nerve Centre’s Creative Learning Centres and pioneering the use of Digital Creative Media in Conflict Education through the Teaching Divided Histories Project.

POWER TracyTracy POWER is Director of Analysis in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).  She is a geographer by training and has worked in NISRA and its predecessor for 27 years within many NICS departments to support evidence-based policymaking for health, justice, environment, education and employment.  One of her current responsibilities is liaison with the UK Statistics Authority which has the remit of ensuring the trustworthiness of official statistics.  She believes that fact checking is a useful tool whereby users of statistics can be assured of their quality and reliability.

SHORTT ClaireClaire SHORTT took up a secondment from NISRA to Belfast City Council in 2008. Claire’s degree is in geography and after graduating lectured for 3 years in geography and sociology in Lisburn College. From 2003 to 2008 Claire worked in the Department of Health’s Information and Analysis directorate, and focused on allocation of resources across Northern Ireland. In her current role Claire is responsible for council links through NISRA to other government and agency departments.

THORNBURY AndreaAndrea THORNBURY is the manager of two open data projects at NICVA. Detail Data is a three-year programme that builds the capacity of the voluntary and community sector to request, access, and use open data for service delivery, fundraising, and lobbying. ODI Belfast is part of the Open Data Institute’s global network and provides local linkages to ODI expertise and resources, and is committed to developing the economic, social and environmental benefits of open data. She is also the manager of NICVA’s Research Unit and is a member of the Northern Ireland Open Government Network and Open Data Strategy Steering Group. Andrea has a degree in Law & Government from Ulster University and a masters degree in Human Rights and Criminal Justice from Queens University Belfast.