Northern Ireland news

President Higgins leads tributes to former diplomat Dermot Gallagher

Former diplomat Dermot Gallagher Picture: RTÉ
Ed Carty, Press Association

TRIBUTES have been paid to former diplomat Dermot Gallagher who has died.

The former ambassador to the US had a 40-year career in the public service and was a significant figure behind the scenes in negotiations relating to Northern Ireland, including the Anglo-Irish and Good Friday agreements.

President Michael D Higgins said: "Mr Gallagher dedicated a lifetime to public service, serving with distinction as ambassador to the United States and making a significant contribution to the peace process in Northern Ireland.

"Sabina and I send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues at this sad time."

Mr Gallagher was born in Carrick-on-Shannon in Co Leitrim.

He served as secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs and held the same position in the Department of the Taoiseach.

His first ambassadorial post was to lead the Irish embassy in Lagos, Nigeria, in the mid-1980s.

Foreign affairs minister Charlie Flanagan said: "He will be remembered as a distinguished diplomat and for his key role in the GFA [Good Friday Agreement]."

Mr Gallagher retired in 2009.

Mr Flanagan said he was loyal and committed.

"Dermot will be greatly missed by his many friends and colleagues in my department, in the GAA to which he also made a huge contribution and in Co Leitrim. I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Maeve and to Dermot's children Fiona, Aoife and Ronan," he said.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin described Mr Gallagher as a dedicated and erudite diplomat.

"Dermot played a significant role in helping to bring about and facilitate the northern peace process and has left an indelible mark on the diplomatic and public service landscape," he said.

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