Irish Judge Síofra O'Leary has become the first female President of the European Court of Human Rights.

Ms Justice O'Leary is also the first Irish appointee to the role.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney welcomed her election saying, "It is a source of pride that the first female President of the Court should be an Irish judge".

In a statement released this afternoon, Mr Coveney said: "Judge O'Leary has served with great distinction since her appointment to the Court, and her election as President is a mark of the high regard in which she is held.

"The Court is central to the protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law in Europe. Never have these ideals and principles been more important," added Mr Coveney.

Ms Justice O'Leary has been a judge of the ECHR since 2 July 2015 and Vice-President of the ECHR since 2 January this year.

She succeeds Robert Spano from Iceland as President and will take up office on 1 November.

Ms Justice O'Leary was educated at University College Dublin (BCL) and the European University Institute Florence (PhD).

Prior to her appointment to the court, she held a number of academic positions, and was a référendaire and chef de cabinet at the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.

Ireland assumed the rotating Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 20 May, a position it holds until November this year.