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Biography

I am a 31 -year-old Londoner of Irish descent. Before entering journalism, I studied at Essex University, where I obtained a BA in Politics and Philosophy and an MA in Political Theory.

The Irish World
After leaving university I joined the Irish World, a newspaper serving the Irish community in Britain, as a reporter, and went on to edit the news section for several years I now write a weekly opinion column, World of Politics, for the paper.

Brixton Prison deaths
In 2001, I received a tip-off about a series of suicides among Irish prisoners at Brixton Prison. Following confirmation by the Home Office, I broke the story in the Irish World.

I also published documents from the prison in which inmates alleged anti-Irish racism had contributed to the deaths.

As a result of the deaths, a new campaigning group, Ceart - The Irish Deaths in Custody Campaign was formed. Ceart obtained legal representation for some of the bereaved families, helping to ensure neglect verdicts in several inquests.

Shortly after the initial story another Irish prisoner, Terry Doyle, died at Brixton, prompting calls by MPs for a public inquiry. An internal Prison Service investigation found that there was anti-Irish racism at the jail, but concluded it did not contribute to the deaths.

Brent East by-election
The death of Labour MP Paul Daisley in 2003 prompted a by-election in my local constituency, Brent East, which has the largest Irish community in Britain.

In a World of Politics column for the Irish World, I described the election as a golden opportunity for the Irish community to make a political impact.

That idea was picked up by campaigners seeking to have the killers of Belfast man Peter McBride kicked out of the British Army.

Peter McBride's sister Kelly McBride stood as an independent in the by-election in order to highlight the case.

In the course of the campaign I interviewed Kelly McBride, the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesman Lembit Opik and former SDLP leader John Hume.

The election was won by Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather, who went on to raise the McBride case in the House of Commons. Defeated Labour candidate Robert Evans MEP also visited Belfast to attend a judicial review of the army's decision to retain the McBride killers.

Mercenaries

In 2003, the US Department of Defence awarded a $293 million Iraq security contract to Aegis Defence Services, a private military company run by Tim Spicer, the commanding officer of the two soldiers in the Peter McBride case.

I have reported extensively on the growing controversy around the contract, for the Irish World, the Asia Times, and Antiwar.com.

In December 2005, I revealed in the Irish World that at the time of the award the British Ministry of Defence had warned the US that Aegis had made a £170,000 pre-tax operating loss in the year to December 2003.

Special Reconaissance Unit

In 2006, I reported on a trip to the National Archives in London by the Pat Finucane Centre and Justice for the Forgotten to examine newly released Northern Ireland files.

As a result, I was the first journalist to reveal the existence of a 1974 briefing for Prime Minister Harold Wilson detailing the existence of the Special Reconnaissance Unit, an undercover British Army unit based at Castledillon in Co Armagh.

In 1988, the British Government had denied any knowledge of a covert unit at Castledillon in response to Parliamentary questions by Ken Livingstone MP, who was following up allegations made by Major Fred Holroyd, a former British Army Intelligence Officer who served in the area in the mid-1970s.

Prior to my articles in the Irish World and the Daily Ireland, previous published accounts had referred to the unit only by cover names such as 14 Intelligence Company.

Other work
As well as my work for the Irish World, I have also written for the Asia Times, the Daily Ireland and Antiwar.com.

Interests