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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 22 September 2020
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President's most senior aide to leave Áras an Uachtaráin

Adrian O’Neill is taking up a role at the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Image: Niall Carson

THE MOST SENIOR member of President Michael D Higgins’ staff will leave his position.

Adrian O’Neill has become the second member of senior staff to depart the Áras in the last sixth months, leaving to take up a role in the Department of Foreign Affairs, his old department.

O’Neill was appointed Secretary General to the President in 2010, when Mary McAleese was the office holder.

He has been appointed by the government to the post of Second Secretary General in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

He will take up this appointment once a successor to him in Áras an Uachtaráin is in place, a spokesperson for the President said.

The spokesperson added that the process of filling the post will commence “shortly”.

President Higgins said that he was grateful for O’Neill’s contribution.

“I thank Adrian for his valuable contributions and commitment to the Office over recent years and, in particular, for his role in the recent State Visit to the United Kingdom.”

O’Neill himself said that serving the President had been an honour.

“It has been an honour to serve in Áras an Uachtaráin and to support the important work of President Higgins and former President McAleese. I feel particularly privileged to have played a part in the reciprocal Ireland-UK State Visits in 2011 and 2014.

“I wish President Higgins and Sabina continuing success for the remainder of the term of office, and also extend best wishes to my colleagues in Áras an Uachtaráin who have been so supportive during my time here.”

The President’s special adviser Mary van Lieshout left her role in October amid speculation of a rift within the ranks of the presidential staff. However, she said that her departure had been on “amicable terms”.

Read: The new normal: State visit solidifies an Anglo-Irish relationship that has changed utterly

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