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Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney T.D. on the passing of Ambassador Jim Kelly

“It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of our Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Jim Kelly.  

Ireland has lost an outstanding diplomat, a great public servant and a kind and generous human being. Little of what Ireland has achieved in the Security Council would have been possible without Jim’s wise counsel, extensive network and encyclopaedic knowledge of the UN. Whether maintaining open humanitarian crossings from Turkey into Syria that provide life-saving aid to 3 million people, championing the role of women in international peace and security, or acting as Security Council Facilitator on the Iran nuclear deal, Jim has been a vital leader. Over recent weeks, he has been central to our robust response at the UN to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Prior to New York, Jim served as Ambassador to Canada where his energy and commitment left a hugely positive legacy. He also served at our Permanent Representation to the EU, at our Embassy in Copenhagen, and in a variety of key roles in Dublin.   Jim was a hugely popular figure across the Department of Foreign Affairs, a generous and inspirational leader, and mentor to many younger diplomats. Alongside his calm and understated demeanour, he had a great sense of humour and was a man of great kindness and integrity. I know that Ambassador Byrne Nason, our team in New York and his many friends across the Department and wider public service are deeply shocked by the news.

I would like to extend my deepest condolences to his wife, Anne, daughters Orla and Ciara, and wider family at this terribly sad time”.

ENDS

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