|Born Mary Leneghan in Belfast June 1951. Married to Martin McAleese, one son, two daughters. In 1973, graduated from Queen's University, Belfast with an honours Law Degree after which she studied at the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland. She is qualified Barrister at both the Northern Ireland Bar and the Republic of Ireland Bar and a member of the European Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the Irish Association of Law Teachers and the Society of Public Teachers of Law. She is also fluent in Spanish and a member of the Institute of Linguists. Spent 10 years lecturing in Trinity College's Law school having succeeded Mary Robinson as Reid Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology. Has extensive knowledge of the Irish Constitution and has written widely on attitudes to crime, punishment, prisons and children in custody. Became the first woman Pro Vice-Chancellor of Queen's University, Belfast in 1994 and was also Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies at Queens. Has served on the Council for Social Welfare (Dublin); the Commission for Justice and Peace; the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas; Focus Point for Homeless Young People (Dublin) and the BBC Broadcasting Council for Northern Ireland. She was Non Executive Director of Channel 4 Television; Northern Ireland Electricity plc and of the Royal Group of Hospitals Trust. Honorary President of the Northern Ireland Housing Rights Association. Member of the Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum in 1984. Member of the Catholic Church's five-person delegation, led by Cardinal Daly and Archbishop Brady in December 1996, to the North Commission on Contentious Parades in Northern Ireland. Elected President of Ireland in October 1997.