Biography - Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese

Mary McAleese was born on June 27th 1951 in Belfast; she is the first Irish President to come from Northern Ireland. She is also the world's first woman to succeed another woman as an elected head of state. Mary McAleese became President in 1997 after Mary Robinson, and she is the 8th President of Ireland.

Mary McAleese graduated in Law from the Queen's University of Belfast in 1973 and was called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1974. In 1975, she was appointed Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin and in 1987, she returned to her Alma Mater, Queen's, to become Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Queen's University of Belfast.

President McAleese is an experienced broadcaster, having worked as a current affairs journalist and presenter in radio and television with Radio Telefís Éireann. She has a longstanding interest in many issues concerned with justice, equality, social inclusion, anti-sectarianism and reconciliation. The theme of her Presidency is 'Building Bridges' The President is married to Dr. Martin McAleese, an accountant and dentist. They have three children, Emma, born 1982 and twins Justin and SaraMai, born 1985.