Martin McAleese

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Martin McAleese
Lech Kaczyński at Áras an Uachtaráin.jpg
Martin McAleese (left) with wife, Mary McAleese and Lech Kaczyński and his wife.
First Gentleman of Ireland
In role
11 November 1997 – 10 November 2011
President Mary McAleese
Preceded by Nicholas Robinson
Succeeded by Sabina Coyne (First Lady)
In office
11 May 2011 – 2 February 2013
Constituency Nominated by the Taoiseach
Personal details
Born (1951-03-24) 24 March 1951 (age 66)
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Mary McAleese
Children 3
Residence London, United Kingdom
Alma mater

Martin McAleese (born 24 March 1951) is a former Senator and First Gentleman of Ireland, as the husband of the 8th President of Ireland, Mary McAleese.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Martin McAleese was born in Belfast and educated at St Mary's Christian Brothers' Grammar School, Belfast and Queens University Belfast from which he obtained a B.Sc.(Hons) in Physics. He played Gaelic football for the Antrim Minors and was captain of the team in 1969. In 1972 after he graduated he moved to Dublin and trained there as an accountant with Stokes, Kennedy, Crowley chartered accountants. He later worked as financial controller for an Aer Lingus subsidiary,

In 1980 he returned to full-time education at Trinity College, Dublin, to train as a dentist.[2] He subsequently moved back to Northern Ireland where he practiced as a dentist in Crossmaglen and Bessbrook, County Armagh.

Personal life[edit]

He married Mary Leneghan in 1976 and they lived first in Scholarstown, County Dublin for a short period and then for almost 12 years near Ratoath, County Meath. The couple have three children, Emma and twins SaraMai and Justin. The family moved to Rostrevor, County Down in 1987 when Martin set up practice in County Armagh.[2]


While his wife served as President of Ireland, McAleese initiated a series of meetings with senior Ulster loyalist paramilitary leaders to pursue peace negotiations. These actions did not take place without controversy, but have been widely viewed as instrumental in bringing loyalist paramilitary groups to peace talks.[3]

In May 2011, McAleese was appointed as a Senator by the Taoiseach Enda Kenny.[4][5] In August 2011 he was appointed the Chancellor of Dublin City University, taking over from David Byrne.

On 1 February 2013, McAleese announced his intention to resign his seat.[3][6]

He was the Chairman of the Inter-Departmental Committee which was set up by the Irish Government to investigate the Magdalene laundries.[7][8] His findings have been criticised by survivors and researchers from the Magdalene Names project.[9]

On Friday 18 – Saturday 19 October 2014, McAleese attended the One Young World Summit in Dublin, Ireland as a keynote speaker. Here, he hosted a special session for the One Young World Peace and Conflict Resolution Project alongside former Ulster Defence Association (UDA) prisoner Jackie McDonald and former Irish Republican Army (IRA) prisoner Sean Murray.[10] They addressed young people from 191 countries to share and develop ideas to strengthen efforts at conflict resolution in their own countries.[11]


  1. ^ "Dr. Martin McAleese". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "People of Ireland". Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "McAleese resigns his seat in Seanad". The Irish Times. 1 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Edwards, Elaine (20 May 2011). "McAleese appointed to Seanad". The Irish Times. 
  5. ^ "Martin McAleese". Retrieved 18 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Martin McAleese to resign from Seanad". RTÉ News. 1 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "State had 'significant' role in Magdalene laundry referrals". The Irish Times. 5 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "Report of the Inter-Departmental Committee to establish the facts of State involvement with the Magdalen Laundries". Department of Justice and Equality. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Lloyd Roberts, Sue (2014-09-24). "Demanding justice for women and children abused by Irish nuns". BBC News. 
  10. ^ "Peace and Conflict Resolution". Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
  11. ^ "One Young World Peace and Conflict Resolution Project - Irish context". 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2015-06-18. 
Academic offices
Preceded by
David Byrne
Chancellor of Dublin City University
August 2011–present