Born and raised on the outskirts of Drumaness, Chris is the eldest of 4 children and was educated at Our Lady & St Patrick’s College, Knock, before moving on to Queens University Belfast, where he is currently finishing his Doctorate in International Studies & Political Philosophy.
At just 27, his co-option in place of Willie Clarke saw him becoming the youngest MLA in the north at the time.
As someone who grew up with a strong affiliation to the GAA, and indeed still takes a keen interest in his local club, Chris is very proud of his involvement with the GAA, and the ongoing work that the organisation is carrying out across the county to revive traditional cultural activities.
He is also fully aware of the challenges facing many isolated rural communities across South Down, and feels that institutions such as the GAA can continue to play a leading role in sustaining a vital sense of identity and promoting community development.
Having joined his local Sinn Féin Cumann as a teenager, Chris has been part of a remarkable growth in Republican politics across the county in the last decade. Involved in a continuous push to better the lives of all people living in South Down, he takes special pride in his role as a community activist on the ground in Drumaness, Ballynahinch and Loughinisland.
An outspoken critic of the decades of neglect suffered by local communities under foreign direct rule ministers, Chris is determined to champion the needs of local people at the assembly. Working alongside party colleagues in Leinster House and the European Parliament in Brussels, he will campaign fervently to bring equality of opportunity to those who have previously been marginalised.
Speaking at his selection convention Chris said;
“I joined Sinn Féin as a young person because I was determined that I could make a difference, that I could play my part in building a better Ireland. I possessed a passionate hostility to the injustices of rampant capitalism and the greed of egocentric politicians who appeared to care little for me, the ordinary man. I’m proud to say that over a decade later, I still tremble with indignation at every injustice, and I remain convinced that another world is possible.”
Chris has held positions on a number of committees during his time in the assembly. As a previous member of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Chris campaigned strongly on behalf of the farmers of South Down, ensuring that assistance was provided by the assembly during their time of most need. Chris continues to work to improve the lives of rural communities in the constituency and has been to the fore in calling for a greater and more equal investment into these towns and villages.
Chris sits on the Education Committee and is the current Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education. Along with Sinn Féin Minister John O’Dowd, Chris has campaigned relentlessly for educational equality in all aspects of academic life.