But she also admitted: “He rarely takes my advice though, I have to tell you.”
Ali said she views the migrant crisis with disbelief and shock at what refugees are going through.
She added: “We have to learn how to look after these people and to give them a chance for the future. The way forward is to be inclusive and ensure everybody has a chance of having a home; of having a life; having a future.”
Ali was one of six recipients of honorary doctorates conferred by the University of Limerick. Her great friend Adi Roche, founder of the Chernobyl Children’s Project International, was also conferred — making it a transatlantic double, as she was honoured by the UN in New York earlier this week.
Dancer Michael Flatley, who was conferred with a doctorate of letters, said he was especially glad to get the honour for his 80-year-old mother, Eilish who is in hospital in Chicago and could not travel.
Michael said his nine-year-old son, is more into Michael Jackson than Irish dancing: “Right now with him it’s all Formula 1, Paul O’Connell and Lego.”
Limerick woman Josephine Feehily, chairwoman of the Police Authority; Peter Malone, former chairman of the National Roads Authority; and Prof John Wylie were also conferred with honorary doctorates.
Ms Feehily, who became the first female chairperson of Revenue in 2008, said she had underestimated how being appointed to that top position resonated with women: “Many told me they saw me as a role model and I am delighted if my position encouraged more women to put themselves forward for serious positions.”