Senator McAleese resigning to join wife in Rome
THE husband of former President Mary McAleese is resigning from the Seanad to be able to spend more time with her in Rome.
Senator Martin McAleese had been appointed by Taoiseach Enda Kenny in 2011 in recognition of his outstanding work in the peace process.
But his work in the Seanad in Dublin kept him apart for long periods from his wife, who is studying canon law in Rome for at least another year.
Seanad sources said they believed his wish to spend more time with her was a factor in his decision to suddenly step down from the Seanad.
But the other factor mentioned was the huge effort he had put into compiling a report about the State's role in the forced detention of women without their children in the Catholic Church-run Magdalene laundries. The report has now been completed.
"He put in hours and hours and weekend after weekend. It has drained him a good bit," said one source.
In his letter of resignation, Dr McAleese confirmed he had completed his Magdalene report after putting it together for the past year and a half.
"It is my fervent hope that the report will be of real public service, most especially to the women concerned," he said.
His resignation will take effect next Monday.
While his wife served two terms as President from 1997-2011, Dr McAleese worked behind the scenes on the peace process by building up trust with key loyalist figures such as Ulster Defence Association leader Jackie McDonald.
The attention has now focused on who Taoiseach Enda Kenny will nominate to replace Dr McAleese.
There will now be huge internal pressure on Mr Kenny to appoint one of the Fine Gael candidates who missed out in the general election and the last Seanad election.
Dr McAleese could not be contacted for comment.