Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

McAleese stands down from Seanad

Martin McAleese has not yet indicated why he has resigned from the Seanad

Martin McAleese has resigned from the Seanad just days before his report on the Magdalene laundries is published.

The husband of former president Mary McAleese gave no reason for his decision to stand down but insisted he was happy with his work on the investigation. "It is my fervent hope that the report will be of real public service most especially to the women concerned," he said.

Mr McAleese has spent the last 18 months in intensive research and analysis on the church-run laundries before handing his report to Government. The Cabinet is expected to see it next Tuesday before it is published.

The rest of his time in the Seanad saw Mr McAleese try to continue much of the bridge-building work that he started in Northern Ireland. As part of that he was one of the key people behind a decision to invite the Orange Order to address the Seanad chamber.

"I am pleased to tell you that the report on the Magdalene laundries, which Justice Minister Alan Shatter asked me to undertake, has been completed after some 18 months of intensive research and analysis and is shortly to be published," he said.

"I am particularly grateful for the way in which the Seanad contributed to a number of bridge-building initiatives, most particularly its historic invitation to the Orange Order.

"The success of that ground-breaking initiative augurs well for the continued, steady consolidation of peace and good neighbourliness between those who share this island."

Mrs McAleese has been studying in Rome for a large period of time since she left the Aras.

Mr McAleese was appointed to the Seanad as one of the nominees of Taoiseach Enda Kenny in May, 2011. He said he was grateful to the Taoiseach for the opportunity to serve as a Senator.

A formal announcement that he has resigned is expected to be made in the house next week.

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