A chairde, dear friends.
I hope that you and your families are keeping well and staying safe, wherever you may be.
These are difficult days for us all, and I know that many of you have had to deal with illness and bereavement within your own families and the wider community over these past few months.
Today, I have to share with you the sad news of a bereavement within our own Embassy family.
Our dear friend and former colleague Michael Hurley R.I.P. died yesterday in Beijing after a very short illness.
Michael came from a public service family, and public service was in his nature. It was a commitment which shone through his work all through the course of a long and distinguished career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which included overseas assignments at our Missions in Madrid, Brussels, The Hague, Ottawa and most recently in Beijing.
I was blessed to know Michael as a friend for more than 25 years, and we were all fortunate to have him as both friend and valued colleague at the Embassy in Ottawa from 2014-2019. He was a talented diplomat and a dedicated professional who brought energy and enthusiasm to the work of promoting Ireland’s interests and serving our community in Canada. Michael was always serious about his work but he never took himself too seriously. His friends and colleagues soon came to know his keen sense of fun and mischief, his hearty laugh and that big grin that we will all miss so much. He was unfailingly kind, loyal and generous: in the word of one mutual old friend, he was “the nicest guy you could ever meet”.
Michael’s interests ranged far and wide: he was a talented musician who played bass here in Ottawa with the John Punch Band, and he was also a big sports fan – his lifelong support for the unfashionable London soccer club side West Ham United was proof positive of his innate sense of loyalty! He was a family man, devoted to Anne Marie and their children James, Niamh and Ciara. One of my last messages from him included a picture of him looking as proud as punch alongside his son James, who had just made the selection for the Beijing Warriors hockey team.
When we said farewell to Michael, Anne Marie and their family last summer as they departed for Beijing, I remarked that we were losing not just friends and colleagues, but part of our Canadian family. Today, we mourn Michael’s passing, gone too soon, and our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Anne Marie, James, Niamh and Ciara; to Michael’s parents and siblings; and to their extended family. So many of you in the community across Canada came to know Michael and Anne Marie as friends during their years with us in Canada: we know that our loss is your loss too. For those of you who may wish to extend a message of sympathy and condolence to the family, Anne Marie can be contacted at the email and postal addresses below:
Postal address: 7 Bushfield Terrace, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam, may he Rest in Peace.
Ambassador of Ireland, Ottawa