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Dermot Gallagher
Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by David J. Cooney
Personal details
Dermont Anthony Gallagher

Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, Ireland
Died 15 January 2017 (aged 72)
Dublin, Ireland
Alma mater University College Dublin

Dermot Anthony Gallagher (1944 – 15 January 2017) was an Irish civil servant. He served as the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He left office as Secretary-General on 24 January 2009 and was replaced by David Cooney, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He was known for serving as Ireland's ambassador to the United States and for helping establishing peace with Northern Ireland.

Early life

Gallagher was born in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim. He studied and taught at the University College Dublin. His diplomatic career began in 1969.


During his diplomat career, Gallagher worked in London, New York City at the United Nations Headquarters, in Brussels and in San Francisco, California. He was made "deputy chief of the cabinet" at the European Commission. In 1971, he married his wife, Maeve Farrell.

He was appointed Ambassador to the United States in 1991 where he developed a wide range of friendships and contacts. One of these was Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas. During his time as ambassador, he helped secure a U.S. visa for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. After his posting in Washington D.C., he returned home in 1997 with the title of Second Secretary General. Along with Bertie Ahern, Gallagher wanted to establish peace with Northern Ireland.

Later career

In February 2009 he was nominated to be Chairman of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and was appointed Chairman of University College Dublin Governing Authority.


Gallagher died on 15 January 2017 in Dublin, aged 72. On his death, President of Ireland, Michael D. 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.

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