TracyHarkinTracy Harkin

Spokeswoman for The Iona Institute NI.

Tracy is a graduate of Queen’s University Belfast. She has a BSSc Sociology/social policy and has studied Catechesis with the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. She worked in the field of community development for a number of years in Belfast and Newtownabbey. Tracy is married with eight children from tots to teens and beyond.


gaven_kerrDr Gaven Kerr OP

Gaven is a married man with three children, and he is also a Third Order Dominican.

He has a BA, MPhil, and PhD from Queen’s University Belfast, all in philosophy. His PhD research focused on the epistemological and metaphysical thought of Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant.

Since completing his PhD in 2011, Gaven has taught at a number of third level institutions, including Queen’s University Belfast, the Maryvale Institute, the Priory Institute, St Malachy’s Seminary, and Maynooth University. He has a number of publications including a book with Oxford University Press, Aquinas’s Way to God: The Proof in the De Ente et Essentia (2015), and articles in various journals such as the International Philosophical Quarterly, the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Religious Studies, Journal of Philosophical Research.

He is currently the reviews editor for the Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society. Gaven’s ongoing research focuses on medieval thought, particularly that of Aquinas, and its relevance within contemporary philosophical discussions.


David Quinn 

David Quinn is the founder and director of The Iona Institute. He is a well known journalist who specialises in religious and social affairs. Currently he has columns in both The Irish Independent and The Irish Catholic. He frequently appears on radio and television programmes and also contributes to numerous magazines overseas. As Director, his main function is to represent the Institute publicly, and to run and coordinate its various projects and undertakings.


Alban A Maginness BA ( Hons) LLM, BL.

Primary degree in Modern History Ulster University (1973): Barrister at Law, Queens University Belfast (1976): Master of Laws on Human Rights Law QUB (2007). Practised law at the Bar of Northern Ireland from 1976 until 2012. Also a member of King’s Inns. Elected as an  SDLP Councillor to Belfast City Council in 1985. Re – elected until retirement from the Council in 2009. Elected Lord Mayor of Belfast in 1987 being the first Nationalist / SDLP and Catholic Lord Mayor of Belfast. Elected to the new Northern Ireland Assembly to represent North Belfast in 1998 and re- elected until retirement in 2016. Former member of the Committee of the Regions of the European Union.2003- 2007. Now a Radio and Television commentator and columnist for the Belfast Telegraph.

Mary Lewis BL

LLB (2:1) 1987    (Queen’s University Belfast) Certificate in Professional Legal Studies 1988 (Institute of Professional Legal Studies, QUB) Called to Northern Ireland Bar 1988. LLM in Discrimination, Human Rights and Emergency Law 1992 (Queen’s University Belfast). Called to Irish Bar 2002. Certificate in Dispute Resolution and Mediation 2012 (Queen’s University Belfast). Diploma in the New Evangelization (with Distinction) (School of Annunciation)  2017. Research Officer Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights Northern Ireland 1989-1990. Various roles in Equal Opportunities Commission 1990-1995. Chief Legal Officer Equal Opportunities Commission (1995-1998). Self-Employed Barrister 1998- 2012. Currently studying for Bachelors Degree in Theology at the School of Annunciation, Buckfast, Devon.

Brett Lockhart QC

Brett is a barrister by profession and practices largely commercial law. He was educated at University College, Cardiff and Queen’s University, Belfast, he was called to the Bar in 1982.  He is a former Chairman of Governors, Methodist College, Belfast, and a member of the Joint Independent Group for Study & Action (JIGSA), a political and economic think tank in Northern Ireland. He is currently completing studies with a view to being ordained to the Permanent Diaconate in Down & Connor in 2018.  Formerly an elder in the Presbyterian Church, he was received into the Catholic Church in 2002 and was deeply influenced by the writings of John Henry Newman.  Brett is actively involved in St Brigid’s Parish in Belfast but retains a strong ecumenical focus. He is married with 4 adult sons and lives in Belfast.