Mary McAleese gives the Commencement address at the 2006 Notre Dame Commencement ceremony
Former Irish president Mary McAleese will speak on “The Irish Peace Process: Where to From Here,” at 7 p.m. Monday (March 16) in the University of Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall auditorium.
McAleese, who joins the Notre Dame faculty this spring as Distinguished Martin and Carmel Visiting Scholar in the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, served two terms as the eighth president of Ireland from 1997 to 2011 and was the first Irish president born in Northern Ireland. Her discussion the Northern Ireland peace process and its future path will be conducted in an interview with Christopher Fox, director of the Keough-Naughton Institute; R. Scott Appleby, Marilyn Keough Dean of the Keough School of Global Affairs; and Rev. Sean McGraw, C.S.C., assistant professor of political science.
The violence that afflicted Northern Ireland between the late 1960s and 1990s, widely and euphemistically known as “the Troubles,” claimed more than 3,500 lives. A peace deal struck in 1998, the Good Friday Agreement, established a power-sharing government in Belfast which included political forces formerly aligned with armed groups on each side of the conflict. Most of the agreement has been implemented, and a devolved national assembly is seated in Belfast, but some unresolved issues regarding sectarian and national identity remain and occasionally give rise to outbreaks of unrest and violence.
McAleese, a prominent advocate of reconciliation and peacebuilding in Northern Ireland, has described the theme of her presidency as “Building Bridges,” a phrase she called “a straightforward metaphor for a difficult but essential undertaking, the embrace of the otherness of the other, the attempt to redeem a divisive past by creating a shared future, the making of good neighbours of people who lived cheek by jowl but in awesome mutual ignorance.”
Contact: Margaret Lloyd, 574-631-6250, firstname.lastname@example.org