I am a native of Castlebar, Co Mayo. A great-granduncle of mine was James Daly who was editor of the Cannaught Telegraph and one of the founders of the Land League in Mayo. Daly chaired the famous Irishtown meeting in 1879.
I am a graduate of UCG with a degree in Political Science and Legal Science in 1985. I completed a PhD in sociology in NUI Galway in 2004. I also studied philosophy for a year (1986-87) in Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology.
From 1987 to 1992 I worked as a care worker in Dublin, particularly with travellers and in Mountjoy prison. I was a volunteer full-time worker with Dublin Simon community and lived in a community of homeless people on Sean MacDermott Street for thirteen months in 1988 and 1989. I was project leader for a new Simon residential unit on Island Street from 1989 to 1992 and was deputy project leader of the Simon Night Shelter on Usher’s Island. That was challenging work and I trace nearly all that I have learned and the character that I am to those experiences.
Later I worked as a child-care worker in Tullow, Co. Carlow and in Tralee, Co. Kerry. In Tullow, I was a project leader on a project where four young people from Dublin lived with my young family and I on a 12-acre farm. The concept was to provide the young people with respite care and training in personal responsibility.
I began teaching in the IT, Tralee from 1997 and returned to Castlebar in 1999 to teach in the GMIT. I lecture in applied social studies.
I was a researcher with the Environmental Change Institute, NUIG from 2000 to 2003. I have been a member of FEASTA and helped found an environmental group in Mayo called Mayo Elive.
From the summer of 2005 I was spokesperson for the Rossport Five and subsequently acted as spokesperson for the Shell to Sea campaign until 2007. I have written widely on the issue of the Corrib gas project and also on wider issues of sustainability and democracy.
I edited The Rossport Five: Our Story and am the author of Compassionate Activism: An Exploration of Integral Social Care. I am Chairperson of Mayo Citizens Information Service and am a director of Mayo Intercultural Action and of Feasta.