Irish ambassador ‘boring and long-winded’
State papers: Noel Dorr considered ‘extremely sound’ on Anglo-Irish relations by senior British diplomat
A note by his British counterpart at the UN, Sir Anthony Parsons , stated that Noel Dorr’s “behaviour during the Falklands was intolerable and I left him in no doubt as to what I thought of him”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A senior British diplomat declared the new Irish ambassador to London in 1983 to be boring and long-winded, albeit “extremely sound”on Anglo-Irish relations. Noel Dorr had previously been Irish ambassador to the UN. A note by his British counterpart at the UN, Sir Anthony Parsons , stated that Dorr’s “behaviour during the Falklands was intolerable and I left him in no doubt as to what I thought of him. He was also a boring, long-winded and irritating member of the Security Council in other respects”.
Parsons’s note, which has been released as part of the latest batch of British state papers from 1983, added that Dorr was “a prig who manages to give the infuriating impression that he is in sole and permanent possession of the high moral ground”.
However, he went on to note that Dorr had “considerable advantages to offset his failings” and was perhaps a better fit for the London position.
“He is intelligent and experienced in EC questions” and “extremely sound on Anglo-Irish relations”. In New York, he had been “a consistent and courageous opponent of Noraid and the rest of the Irish lobby”. And he was “a quiet and private man and is not the kind of person who would go around stirring up the Irish community in Britain”.
To Parsons surprise, Dorr had recently married but he felt the “change can only improve him”.
Michael Lillis, the head of the Anglo-Irish division in the Department of Foreign Affairs, and a figure of growing importance in Anglo-Irish relations, was also the subject of scrutiny by British officials. An official at the Dublin embassy noted that he had “ always found Lillis reasonable and – while naturally taking an Irish point of view – open-minded”.