Tom Hartley was born in Belfast in 1945 and has been active in politics for over forty years. He was both the General Secretary and National Chairperson of Sinn Féin, and in May 1993 he was elected to Belfast City Council, where he chaired several Council committees, including the Arts and Tourism sub-committees and the Policy and Resources committee. From 2008 to 2009 he was lord mayor of Belfast. He retired from the Council in September 2013 after twenty years service to the citizens of Belfast.
In his spare time, Tom pursues his love of history and interest in the environment by organizing historical walks through Belfast City Cemetery for Féile an Phobail. He works to highlight the importance of our burial sites as a repository of the political, social and economic history of Belfast. He is the author of the bestselling Written in Stone series - Milltown Cemetery and Belfast City Cemetery.