McAleese, Mary

Mary McAleese (1951-) served as the eighth President of Ireland from 1997 to 2011. She was Ireland's second female president and succeeded Mary Robinson in the role. She served two terms in office.

Born Mary Patricia Leneghan into a Catholic family in Belfast, she later married Martin McAleese in 1976. They have three children. 

A law graduate from Queen's University Belfast and a former Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College Dublin, McAleese worked as a barrister and joined RTÉ in 1979 as a journalist and presenter for the Today Tonight programme.

She returned to Belfast and became Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies in Queens and was appointed the first female Pro Vice Chancellor of Queens University in 1994.

During her time in office McAleese worked on building bridges with the unionist community in Northern Ireland.