Mary Robinson

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Mary Robinson
7th President of the Republic of Ireland
Term of office
1990 - 1997
Political party Independent, with Labour support
Preceded by Patrick Hillery
Succeeded by Mary McAleese
Born 21 May 1944
Mayo
Spouse Nick Robinson
Religion Roman Catholic

Mary Robinson (born 21 May 1944 in Ballina, Co. Mayo, Republic of Ireland), served as the eighth President of Ireland, and made history as being the nation's first female president. She served one term from 1990 to 1997 and did not seek re-election, though she can legally run again in the future if she wishes.

Ms. Robinson had achieved recognition before her presidency as a Senator in the Irish Seanad (Senate). While a Senator she attempted many liberal reforms of Irish society - most notably in the area of contraception, which was banned in Ireland until the 1980s. She also worked for gay rights, women's rights, and a campaign to save an historic Viking site in Dublin on which new buildings were to be constructed. This effort was unsuccessful. In 1990 she won the Labour Party's backing for her presidential campaign, and was elected later that year.

Her presidency was marked by her new attitude to Anglo-Irish relations. She became the first Irish president to make a state visit to Britain, and the first to meet with Queen Elizabeth II. In 1997, rather than run for re-election, Robinson was appointed UN Commissioner on Human Rights. In 2007 she joined with Nelson Mandela and former US President Jimmy Carter, among others, to form a group called 'The Elders', a think-tank dedicated to tackling world issues.

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