Ex-tanaiste appointed chancellor of University of Limerick
Former tanaiste Mary Harney has been appointed chancellor of the University of Limerick.
A former cabinet minister who held a number of portfolios including health, environment and enterprise, Ms Harney also led the defunct Progressive Democrats for more than a decade.
She quit politics in 2011 after the collapse of the Fianna Fail-led coalition government and months on from the country being forced into an international bailout.
Ms Harney is now the director of a number of private companies in pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology and financial services.
She will take up the UL role immediately and hold the position until 2022.
Ms Harney said she was deeply honoured and delighted at the appointment.
"UL is a nimble, responsive university at the forefront of innovation in pedagogy, delivering research with significant real-world impact and yet has huge potential to grow and mature," she said.
"I look forward to working with the president and the governing authority to develop further and enhance the education and research potential of this great university."
Born in Galway, Ms Harney studied economics at Trinity College and was the first woman auditor of the Hist debating society.
In 1977 she was appointed to the Seanad, becoming the youngest ever member, and she went on to serve 17 years in government, including nine years as tanaiste, and was the first woman to lead a political party when she took over the Progressive Democrats in the mid-1990s.
Dr Des Fitzgerald, UL president, said: "Mary has always been a pioneer in her field and a mould-breaker in her political and public life."