I grew up in Finglas and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1987. I joined the Army in 1989, serving at home in Ireland and on active duty in Lebanon before becoming Defence Forces Press Officer.
As an officer, I completed ground-breaking doctoral research on bullying, sexual harassment and the sexual assault of soldiers within the Irish Defence Forces (2000). My PhD led to an independent government enquiry, in 2003, which fully vindicated my findings and recommendations and in turn transformed the equality culture of the Irish Defence Forces with measurable benefits for more than 20,000 full-time and part-time soldiers, sailors and aircrew.
Cited by Amnesty as a target of whistleblower reprisal in the aftermath of the publication of my research, I have written about the experience in the print media and in peer-reviewed academic publications. My experiences have also been the subject of two documentaries, Whistleblowers(2007) on RTÉ Radio and Whistleblowers (2015)on TV3.
In 2000, I retired from the Army to pursue an academic career. I now lecture at the School of Media DIT in Journalism, Political Communication, Public Affairs and Research Methodology. I am also a Security Analyst, writing for publications such asThe Irish Times and TheJournal.ie. I have written two best-selling books, Blood, Sweat and Tears (2012) and Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy (2013).
I live in Booterstown, Co Dublin, with my wife and four children. My 13-year-old son Eoghan suffers from a rare neuromuscular disease. He is a bright, happy boy, an inquisitive teenager and a great big brother – who happens to use a wheelchair and be legally blind.
Basic services such as physio, speech and occupational therapy make a huge difference in Eoghan’s life. As his father and carer, I see every day the damaging effects on my son of the erosion of these vital services thanks to austerity. Ireland’s so-called recovery has yet to reach children like Eoghan and the 600,000 people in Ireland who live with disabilities.
The time has come to end the inequality faced every day by children and adults living with disabilities. If elected to the Seanad, I will campaign to make equality a priority for the next Government and to make Ireland a truly equal Republic.
I’m #AbleForEquality – are you?