Project Team 

LEONARD AllanAllan LEONARD (Managing Director, Northern Ireland Foundation) is a specialist in Northern Ireland affairs, arriving from America at the time of the 1994 ceasefires. He served as a policy officer at the Northern Ireland Assembly, and was responsible for the development and launch of the Troubled Images project at the Northern Ireland Political Collection, Linen Hall Library. Allan’s professional background includes marketing, communications, event management, and policy development. He is particularly skilled at online social media and offline networking.

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.


Orna 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.


MURRAY OliverOliver MURRAY (FactCheckNI Writer/Researcher Intern) recently graduated from Ulster University, where he earned a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism with English and a diploma in International Academic Studies, which was awarded after studying abroad at St Edward’s University in Austin Texas. He considers the highlight of his academic career to be his final year practice piece, a radio documentary about Irish emigration. The positive experience of producing and researching the project persuaded him to pursue fact-checking further in a Northern Irish context. His main areas of interest in terms of reporting are crime, health and social issues.

TRZCINSKI KajetanKajetan TRZCINSKI (FactCheckNI Media Monitor Intern) is a recent graduate from the University of East Anglia with a BA (Hons) in Politics. With a specialisation in European Politics and International Relations throughout his time at university, he is looking forward to applying his education to the FactCheckNI project. Following his graduation in 2015 he undertook an internship with the East of England regional representative office to the European Union. His positive experience there led him to join the European New Towns and Pilot cities Platform, an international NGO focusing on the common issues faced by new towns around the EU.

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.

FITZPATRICK JimJim 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.

McGIMPSEY JudithJudith 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.

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.