Statement on the death of Michael Hurley
Statement25 May 2020
The Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Niall Burgess, and the Ambassador of Ireland to the People’s Republic of China, Eoin O’Leary, are deeply saddened to confirm the death in Beijing of Michael Hurley, the Deputy Head of the Embassy on Sunday 24 May.
Michael had previously been Deputy Head of Mission in the Irish Embassy to Canada in Ottawa and had a long and distinguished career in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
The Department and its staff throughout the world offers its deepest sympathy to Michael’s wife Anne-Marie, his children James, Niamh and Ciara and his entire family.
Speaking after being informed of the sad news, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, paid tribute to Michael.
“Michael Hurley was an exemplary representative of his country and a person who embodied all that is finest in Ireland’s diplomatic and public service. The many of us in political life who worked with Michael in the course of his thirty-two year career saw at first hand his extraordinary commitment and generosity of spirit, most especially in the vital work he was involved in at our Embassy in Beijing throughout the current crisis. On behalf of the Government, I want to express my deepest sympathies to Michael’s wife Anne-Marie and his children, James, Niamh and Ciara.”
Niall Burgess, Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said:
“Our work sometimes gives us the opportunity to do big things that change people’s lives for the better. Michael did big things, quietly and unassumingly. Never more so than in recent difficult months when he sustained high spirits among our team in Beijing and anchored our efforts to secure essential medical supplies for this country from China. We may never know how many people owe their health and possibly their lives to those efforts. We’ve lost a very special colleague - one of the best of us. The Department is providing every assistance and support to his family and to his colleagues, especially to those in our Embassy in Beijing. They and we are devastated by his loss and we ask for privacy for them at this tragic time.”
Note for editors:
Michael Hurley (50) was originally from Santry in Dublin. He joined the Department in 1988 and served in the Passport Office and in Iveagh House. His first posting was to the Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels in 1998 and he was most recently Deputy Head of Mission at our Embassy in Ottawa (2014-2019). He also served as Deputy Head of Mission in Ireland’s Embassy to the Netherlands in the The Hague (2006-2011).