Saturday 23 September 2017

Obituary: A wily diplomat and an architect of peace

Dermot Gallagher was a crucial cog in the Department of Foreign Affairs Photo: Steve Humphreys
Dermot Gallagher was a crucial cog in the Department of Foreign Affairs Photo: Steve Humphreys
Then British prime minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern announce the signing of the Good Friday Agreement Photo: Pacemaker
Eamon Delaney

Eamon Delaney

There is something very poignant about the fact former diplomat, Dermot Gallagher, has passed away on the very weekend the two parties in Stormont have collapsed their power-sharing agreement and possibly the whole Northern Ireland peace process.

The Good Friday Agreement of 1998, which is now at stake, is very much Mr Gallagher's creation and the fruits of years of cajolery, negotiation and statecraft by the likes of him and a handful of other officials.

There is also an added poignancy that he has passed away as the unwell Martin McGuinness steps down, as Mr Gallagher had fostered a close if wary relationship with Mr McGuinness and saw him as the way to deliver the IRA, as well as Sinn Féin. This was especially so in the years after the IRA ceasefire of 1994, when the British insisted on decommissioning of paramilitary weapons, thereby introducing a new hurdle which the republicans were never going to concede easily on.

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss