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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Irish UN worker 'died doing job he loved'

Published 20/01/2010 | 05:00

THE family of the Irishman killed in the Haiti earthquake last night revealed he recently extended his stay in the country because he felt the situation there was improving.

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Andrew Grene, pictured, had been serving in Haiti as an adviser to the head of the UN peacekeeping operation when the UN building in the capital Port-au-Prince collapsed in the quake on Tuesday of last week. The 44-year-old's body was pulled from the rubble in the early hours of yesterday morning.

His half-brother Nicholas said the family feared the worst after the body of Hedi Annabi, the chief of the UN in Haiti, was recovered on Saturday. Andrew had been in a meeting with Mr Annabi when the earthquake occurred. "It was six days, and all the other people who were at the meeting, their bodies had been recovered," Nicholas told the Irish Independent. "So it began to seem very unlikely that he'd been spared."

He said the father-of-three had recently extended his stay in Haiti, and that he felt the UN was doing some vital work.

"It was very much the work he wanted to do, and he worked enormously hard in his job at the UN," Nicholas, a lecturer in Trinity College, said.

"He was very dedicated to it. The last time I talked to him he was quite hopeful that in Haiti things were looking up a bit.

"I'm not sure whether he was in Haiti for three or four years. He was due to come back this year. He'd done his normal term of office and had actually asked for an extension to stay for another year." Andrew was born in Chicago, but spent much of his youth on the family farm in near Belturbet in Co Cavan and attended the local school.

He held both Irish and American citizenship and his wife Jennifer, who is from Co Down, and their three children -- Patrick, Alex and Rosemont -- live in New York.

Irish Independent

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