Mary McAleese a cut above the rest as she accepts peace prize
AFTER 14 years of working for peace across Ireland, former President Mary McAleese and her husband, Martin, have been honoured with a prestigious peace award.
While she is less than a year gone from the Aras, Mrs McAleese -- who is studying canon law in Rome -- has a new image with a strikingly shorter hairstyle.
Yesterday, the professor and her senator husband were awarded the Tipperary International Peace Prize.
All sections of Irish life and society were present in Ballykisteen Hotel for a lavish ceremony in the rolling heartlands of a sun- drenched Tipperary.
Many there will hope that the German diplomat who attended -- 12 embassies were represented -- will not be reporting back to Chancellor Angela Merkel on the relaxed occasion that began at noon and lingered on well into the evening.
Archbishop Dermot Clifford mingled freely with academics while previous government ministers, Eamon Ryan, Peter Power and Martin Mansergh, enjoyed the melodies of the 'Tipperary Singers' in the foyer of the hotel.
Fr Brian D'Arcy forgot about any current problems of censorship and laughed openly with legendary GAA manager Babs Keating.
The President of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, was also present along with junior government minister Alan Kelly and up to 200 guests, including a plethora of local councillors.
Accepting the award, Mrs McAleese said the starting point for all peacemakers is the recognition that there is a fundamental desire for peace in all people.
She said her desire was driven by the urgency of ending violence, and was "something that Martin and I shared from the first day we met".
Senator Martin McAleese, who has been praised for his role in developing behind-the-scenes engagement with loyalist leaders during his wife's presidency, said it was vital to develop the ability to form and sustain good relationships.