Tributes are being paid to former Irish diplomat Dermot Gallagher, whose death was announced Sunday morning
Mr. Gallagher, from Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim, was a former Secretary General at Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and was during his lengthy and distinguished 40-year long diplomatic career a hugely influential participant in Northern Ireland’s peace process.
He was widely admired for his non-confrontational mastery of internal Irish civil service and Department of Foreign Affairs politics and for an emollient, consensual style in dealing with Northern Ireland’s politicians and parties.
President of Ireland Michael D Higgins led the tributes.
In a statement President 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.”
In retirement Mr Gallagher also served as an adviser to the GAA and was instrumental in ensuring the London County Board received funding and support for its new stadium in Ruislip due to open later this year.
Statement by Minister Flanagan on the passing of Dermot Gallagher:
“I have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Dermot Gallagher, a former Secretary General of my Department who retired in 2009,” Minister Charlie Flanagan said in a statement on Sunday afternoon.
“A proud native of Leitrim, Dermot ably served successive Governments with great loyalty and constant commitment. His talented service covered the spectrum of the Department’s work from EU affairs to development aid. It included two Ambassadorial posts, in Nigeria and later in the US.
“However, perhaps it was in the area of Northern Ireland and the peace process that Dermot made his greatest contribution. As a young diplomat, he was part of the Government’s negotiating team at the Sunningdale talks in 1973 and many years later he was a major figure in the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. As Secretary General of the Department, he also prioritised a focus on providing practical support to Irish citizens abroad.
“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 County Leitrim. I extend my deepest sympathy to his wife Maeve and to Dermot’s children Fiona, Aoife and Ronan. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.”