University of Limerick’s Governing Authority has today voted unanimously to appoint former Tánaiste Mary Harney as Chancellor and Chairperson of the university’s Governing Authority.
Ms Harney, who retired from politics in 2011 and is now the director of a number of private companies in pharmaceutical, healthcare, technology and financial services sectors, will take up office as UL Chancellor immediately.
The Office of UL Chancellor is an honorary appointment and Ms Harney’s tenure will extend to 2022.
Mary Harney was born in Galway, studied economics at Trinity College and was the first woman auditor of the “Hist” debating society. After graduation, she spent a year teaching mathematics and economics in Castleknock College. In 1977, her political career began when she was appointed to the Senate, becoming the youngest ever member of Seanad Éireann.
After 17 years in government, she reached the height of her career. She served as Tánaiste for nine years, became the first woman to lead a political party in Ireland and held many important ministerial portfolio in environment, enterprise and health. She was also the longest-serving female TD in the State’s history.
UL President Dr Des Fitzgerald said that Ms Harney’s appointment would allow the university to draw on her extensive experience as a leader and as an eminent public figure in Ireland and internationally.
“Mary has always been a pioneer in her field and a mould breaker in her political and public life. I look forward to her bringing that same pioneering spirit to UL’s new Governing Authority at a time of change and renewed ambition for this great institution.”
Stating that she was deeply honoured and delighted to have been appointed Chancellor, Ms Harney said that UL was a nimble, responsive university at the forefront of innovation in pedagogy, delivering research with significant real world impact and yet had huge potential to grow and mature.
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