Sunday 24 September 2017

Former Aras aide breaks silence on shock resignation

President Michael D Higgins former adviser says her departure from Aras an Uachtarain was on "very amicable terms".

Mary van Lieshout issued a statement in response to reports her departure from her position was reported to have been prompted tensions in the Aras.

“I departed Áras an Uachtaráin on very amicable terms with everyone and wish the President, Sabina and all my former colleagues well for the future," she said.

Aras an Uachtarian played down the surprise resignation of the President Michael D Higgins’s chief adviser just 18 months into the job.

President Higgins got the salary cap lifted last year in order to pay the highly regarded aide a salary of €103,000.

But just half way through her contract, Mary van Lieshout has left amid reports of tensions among the President’s most trusted aides.

The controversy over the former third world humanitarian aid worker’s departure has become public just a week after it was announced President Higgins is to make a historic state visit to Britain next April.

Mr van Leishout issued a statement this evening on her departure.

“In recent days there has been much speculation and comment relating to my departure from Áras an Uachtaráin. I have sought to protect my privacy by not commenting. However, I wish to clarify matters at this time.

“I was honoured to accept the appointment of Adviser when invited to do so by President Higgins and was privileged to have the experience of working in Áras an Uachtaráin.

“In order to pursue other interests, I decided to end the assignment and have now taken up a role in overseas development, an area to which I have a deep, personal and longstanding commitment.

“I departed Áras an Uachtaráin on very amicable terms with everyone and wish the President, Sabina and all my former colleagues well for the future.

“I will be making no further comment on this matter."

Fionnan Sheahan

Irish Independent

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