Labour councillor is key adviser
A British Labour Party councillor has been appointed a key adviser to the Irish President.
Dublin-born Sally Mulready is one of seven people chosen by Michael D Higgins to sit on the Council of State.
The Council of State is appointed to aid and counsel the President on all matters.
It comprises three categories of members including the seven individuals selected by the head of state, ex officio and former office holders.
Ms Mulready currently serves in the London borough of Hackney but continues to have strong links with Ireland.
She is a former founding member of the Irish Women's Survivors Network and director of the Irish Elderly Advice Network. She is also heavily involved in seeking justice for victims of the Magdalene Laundries, Catholic Church-run workhouses for women and girls.
Mr Higgins himself is a former Irish Labour Party veteran, but he rescinded his membership on his inauguration as head of state in November. The president's remaining six appointees include senior solicitor Michael Farrell, who is known for his involvement with the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland and who is a former co-chairman of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties.
Professor Deirdre Heenan, provost and dean of academic development for the University of Ulster's Magee Campus, has also been appointed to the Council of State.
Judge Catherine McGuinness, Professor Gearoid O Tuathaigh. Ruairi McKiernan and Professor Gerard Quinn make up the remainder of the seven new members.
Ex officio and former office holders sitting on the Council of State include former presidents Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson, former Taoisigh Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen as well as current Taoiseach Enda Kenny.