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Tuesday, 8th October 2019

Ireland’s Ambassador to UN to receive freedom of Drogheda

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Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason who is to receive the freedom of Drogheda follwing a unanimous vote of Councillors yesterday.

Drogheda woman Geraldine Byrne Nason to be honoured with town’s most prestigious award

Ireland’s top diplomat and Ambassador to the United Nations, Drogheda woman Geraldine Byrne Nason, is to receive the freedom of Drogheda following a unanimous vote by Councillors on a motion from Mayor Paul Bell at last night’s Borough District meeting.

Ms Byrne Nason was born in Drogheda in 1959, lived in Ballsgrove, and attended Our Lady's College, Greenhills. She has a BA and MA in Literature from St Patrick's College, Maynooth.

She joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1982 and was Director for Governance at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris in the 1990s. She has served at the UN in New York, Vienna, Geneva, and Helsinki. She served as Second Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach from 2011 until 2014, making her the highest ranking female civil servant in the country.

In August 2014, Ms Byrne Nasonwas appointed Ireland's Ambassador to France and Monaco and helped to organise the visit of Prince Albert of Monaco to Drogheda in 2017 when he officially opened the Princess Grace Garden at Dominic’s Park in memory of his mother who visited Drogheda in 1961.

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In August 2017, Nason was appointed as Ireland's permanent representative to the UN in New York by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, tasked with trying to secure a seat for Ireland on the UN Security Council in 2020.

Also in 2017, she was awarded a Mayoral Award from the then Mayor of Drogheda, the late Cllr. Oliver Tully, she was nominated for the award for her international efforts in promoting her native Drogheda.

Nominating Ms Nason for the freedom of Drogheda last night Mayor Bell said that she had served her country and her town with great distinction and had always been proud to promote her home town.

Cllr. Kevin Callan echoed the sentiment about Ms Nason’s pride for Drogheda saying that wherever she worked in the world she always had the crest of Drogheda hanging on her office wall.

Cllr. Pio Smith said he was pleased to see a person from Drogheda being nominated adding that she was a “great ambassador for Drogheda.”

Councillor Joanna Byrne said she had never met Ms Nason but that it was good to see a woman receiving the award.

Other people to  have been awarded the freedom of Drogheda over the years include Seamus Mallon of the SDLP (2018), his party comrade, the Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, who was honoured in 1981, Dr. TK Whitaker in 1999, Fr Iggy O’Donovan in 2013, Pope John Paul II (1979), Charles Stewart Parnell and Eamon De Valera.

No date has been set for the award ceremony due to Ms Byrne Nason's busy schedule.

Geraldine Byrne Nason with Prince Albert of Monaco during his visit to Drogheda in 2017.

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