PRESIDENT McAleese has named a Fianna Fail Senator, a Fine Gael trustee and a DCU student among seven new members of the Council of State.
They are Senator Martin Mansergh (FF), chairman of the Fine Gael trustees Enda Marren and Daraine Mulvihill, a DCU student. The other appointees are Mary Davis, Anastasia Crickley and two men from Northern Ireland, Harvey Bicker and Denis Moloney.
Ms Mulvihill was awarded Young Person of the Year award in 2001. In 1999, she contracted meningitis which resulted in the amputation of her legs and all of her fingers. Despite this, she sat her Leaving Certificate and resumed a normal lifestyle.
Ms Davis is national director of Special Olympics Ireland; Ms Crickley is chair of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Interculturalism.
Mr Moloney is a solicitor and Professor of Law at the University of Ulster and is involved with many charities. A lay theologian, he was active in Mrs McAleese's first presidential campaign. As a solicitor he defended Fr Brendan Smyth, charged with paedophile offences; Mr Bicker OBE is a retired Lt Colonel of the Royal Irish Regiment and former Unionist councillor.