Belfast Telegraph

Michael D Higgins leads tributes to former ambassador to US Dermot Gallagher

Diplomat Dermot Gallagher had a 40-year career in public service
Diplomat Dermot Gallagher had a 40-year career in public service

President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to former diplomat Dermot Gallagher, who has died.

The former ambassador to the US and Nigeria was a significant figure behind the scenes in negotiations relating to Northern Ireland, including the Anglo-Irish and Good Friday agreements.

He was 72.

Mr 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.

In a 40-year career in government and diplomatic service 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.

He was subsequently posted to Washington in the 1990s.

Mr Gallagher also chaired the Garda Ombudsman for a number of years and was also centrally involved in the development of the Battle of the Boyne site.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan described him as 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," the minister said.

Fianna Fail 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.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams had close contact with Mr Gallagher during talks in Northern Ireland.

"I met Dermot many times during those years and worked closely with him in our efforts to advance the peace process and the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph