Rhyannon 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.
Jim FITZPATRICK is an award-winning independent broadcaster, producer and journalist, with a specialist interest in Ireland’s economics and politics. A former editor of economics and business for the BBC in Ireland, he previously fronted much of BBC Northern Ireland’s political coverage as the presenter of The Politics Show, Stormont programming, and party conferences. Jim has also worked as an investigative reporter with UTV; a corporate PR director at Drury Communications; and business editor with the Irish News.
Judith McGIMPSEY works in policy and public affairs in the legal sector. She studied degrees in law and criminology at university and worked for a political consultancy before joining the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2015. She brings legal research, policy analysis and stakeholder engagement experience to the FactCheckNI advisory panel. Judith is also involved in the arts sector and sits on the Board of a local organisation that produces an annual festival promoting the best in LGBTQ creativity.
Alan 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.
Quintin 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.
John 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.
Tracy 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.
Claire 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.