McAleeses to receive peace honour

Sun, Jan 1, 2012, 00:00

Former president Mary McAleese and her husband Senator Martin McAleese are to jointly receive the 2011 Tipperary International Peace Award.

The Tipperary Peace Convention announced the joint recipients today on the World Day of Peace.

It paid tribute to the work carried out by the McAleeses in both Northern Ireland and the Republic, as well as their efforts to forge stronger ties with Britain.

?In view of the work carried out by Mary and Martin McAleese in promoting peace and reconciliation, Tipperary Peace Convention is delighted to announce that they are the joint recipients of the 2011 Tipperary International Peace Award,? a spokesman for the convention said.

Past recipients of the prestigious peace prize include former South African president Nelson Mandela, Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof and former US president Bill Clinton.

Mrs McAleese, who served for 14 years as President, made history in May last year when she played host to Queen Elizabeth.

?The theme of Mary McAleese?s presidency was building bridges and for many people, the highlight of her two terms as President was the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in May 2011, which undoubtedly was the culmination of President McAleese?s long and dedicated work for reconciliation,? the spokesman added.

?Along with her work for reconciliation she also used her time in office to address issues concerning justice, social equality, social inclusion and anti-sectarianism and her presidency has been a healing one for which this and future generations will be eternally grateful.?

The husband and wife joint winners were selected for the prize from a short list of nominees including Queen Nour Al Hussein of Jordan, former US president Jimmy Carter and former US chief of protocol ambassador Nancy G Brinker.

Dr McAleese carried out much work within loyalist communities in Northern Ireland and initiated a series of meetings with senior paramilitary leaders to negotiate peace. ?These actions have been widely viewed as instrumental in bringing loyalist paramilitary groups to peace talks,? said the spokesman. ?The valuable work that he did in reaching out to people in the loyalist community enabled the development of a shared Ireland beyond violence and conflict.?

The award will be presented in Tipperary later this year.