Tuesday 25 April 2017

Clinton: Gallagher was 'precious peace asset'

Mourners including former senator Maurice Hayes, centre left, console Dermot Gallagher’s widow Maeve at the funeral. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Mourners including former senator Maurice Hayes, centre left, console Dermot Gallagher’s widow Maeve at the funeral. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

Former US president Bill Clinton paid tribute to Dermot Gallagher - a key architect of the Northern Ireland peace process - as hundreds of mourners attended the well-respected diplomat's funeral.

In a letter of condolence to Mr Gallagher's wife Maeve, Mr Clinton described him as "a fine man, an extraordinary diplomat and a gifted civil servant who dedicated his life to advancing peace and prosperity for the Irish people".

Mr Gallagher's career spanned 40 years and Mr Clinton thanked him for his exemplary service as ambassador to the US between 1991 and 1997.

"I will be forever grateful for his important role in negotiating the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

"With his knowledge, insight and sharp wit, he was a precious asset for a better future."

Mr Gallagher, a native of Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, died on Sunday at the age of 72, following an illness.

Former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams with former taoiseach Brian Cowen. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams with former taoiseach Brian Cowen. Photo: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

Among the mourners at the Holy Trinity Church, near his home in Ratoath, Co Meath, yesterday were former president Mary McAleese and her husband Martin.

Read more: Obituary: A wily diplomat and an architect of peace

Former minister Dermot Ahern, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, former taoisigh John Bruton and Brian Cowen, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness were also in attendance.

Mr Gallagher's children Fiona, Aoife and Ronan, and his brothers Niall, Lionel and Brian attended the service.

Mr Gallagher also served as general secretary to the Department of Foreign Affairs and to the Department of the Taoiseach.

Irish Independent

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