Mary McAleese joins University of Glasgow

Sally Madden

McAleese was formally a Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College.

Former President Mary McAleese is to become a Professor of Children, Law and Religion at the University of Glasgow.

The post is a joint appointment between the College of Arts and the College of Social Sciences, for the academic year of 2018/2019.

McAleese, who served as a two-term President of Ireland between 1997-2011, is described by the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, as a “an accomplished academic with vast experience in her field”.

Professor McAleese says she is looking forward to working at the University, and described it as having a “culture of innovation and cross-disciplinary engagement.”

The former President is a trained barrister and journalist, and was formerly a Professor of Criminal Law, Criminology and Penology at Trinity College. In 1994 she became the first female Pro-Vice Chancellor at Queen’s University Belfast.

Since 2013, Professor McAleese has been teaching courses in various educational institutions in topics such as children’s rights, LGBT rights, conflict resolution, and the Irish peace process.

McAleese also received a doctorate in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Her thesis, in which she criticises infant baptism as forced membership of the Catholic Church and a violation of human rights, is to be converted into two books on children’s rights.

While the former president is a woman of strong catholic faith, she has openly criticised the church on more than one occasion. She recently came under fire for labelling the World Meeting of Families, the event which brought Pope Francis to Ireland earlier this year, as a “right-wing rally”.

Throughout the years, the former president has been involved in social justice campaigning. She worked on campaigns for LGBT and women’s rights, and openly discussed her decision to vote “yes” in the abortion referendum, despite her own personal connections to Christianity.

On McAleese’s appointment, Professor Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh, Vice Principal and Head of the College of Arts at the university, said: “She will bring great energy, expertise, and experience to her new role within the arts and humanities and will enhance our reputation as a world class interdisciplinary university.”

Meanwhile, the Vice Principal and Head of the College of Social Sciences, Professor Anne Anderson, said that she was “thrilled” at her appointment.

The University of Glasgow is recognised as one of the world’s top 100 universities in both the Qs World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.


By: Sally Madden 

Image Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images