Phillips was born in County Longford, and was a farmer there.
As a young man he was a leader of the Fenian movement in Longford, but later devoted his energies to the constitutional Home Rule movement. He was co-opted to Longford County Council on its establishment in 1899, and was its chairman from 1902 until his death. He was elected as Member of Parliament for South Longford in 1907.
He died at his home in Edgeworthstown after a long illness on 2 April 1917, aged 77.
28th United Kingdom Parliament. 29th United Kingdom Parliament. 30th United Kingdom Parliament]
He was the Nationalist Member of Parliament for South Longford.