In 2009 Gareth achieved a PhD in Contemporary Irish Political History from Queen’s University Belfast School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy. The thesis was entitled ‘The Protestant Working Class in Northern Ireland – Political Allegiance and Social and Cultural Challenges Since the 1960s’ and sought to raise awareness of the Protestant working class experience in Northern Ireland from pre-Troubles to post-conflict.
Gareth is currently a researcher for History Hub Ulster.
Gareth has recently co-edited a volume of essays entitled ‘The Contested Identities of Ulster Protestants’ [Palgrave Macmillan, January 2015]
In August 2015 he completed a book about Ulster’s loyalist ‘Tartan’ gangs of the early 1970s and the formation of the YCV/UVF and Red Hand Commando in Belfast entitled ‘Our Boys of Tomorrow: Tartan gangs and loyalist paramilitarism in early 1970s Belfast’ [Liverpool University Press, 2016].
He is always keen to engage with grassroots and community-based groups and was delighted to be able to give an informal talk to the Shankill Area Social History Group (S.A.S.H.) in the summer of 2013 about his research and the life of his great grandfather James Downey. Private James Downey was a soldier with the 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles (107th Infantry Brigade of the Ulster Division) and a member of the North Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force.