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Mary McAleese was educated at St. Dominic's High School, Belfast, between 1962 and 1969, and is Patron of St. Dominic's Past Pupils' Union.
On 11 November 1997, Mary McAleese (née Lenaghan) was inaugurated as the eighth President of Ireland. President McAleese was re-elected, un-opposed, on 1 October 2004. She is a Barrister-at-Law and former Professor of Law.
Born on 27 June 1951 in Belfast, Mary McAleese is the first President to come from Northern Ireland. In 1976, she married Dr. Martin McAleese with whom she has three children.
Mary Lenaghan graduated in Law from the Queen's University of Belfast 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, returned to QUB on her appointment as Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies. In 1994, Professor McAleese became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen's University, Belfast.
She 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 was Building Bridges.