Irish citizen in Haiti confirmed dead

Tue, Jan 19, 2010, 00:00

The Department of Foreign Affairs today confirmed that Andrew Grene, an Irish citizen and senior United Nations official who was working in Haiti, has been identified as among those killed in the earthquake last week.

Mr Grene (44) who had dual Irish-US citizenship, was a political affairs officer with the UN’s department of peacekeeping operations, was based in the capital Port-au-Prince.

He served as a special assistant to the head of the UN stabilisation mission in Haiti, Hedi Annabi, who also died in the earthquake.

Mr Grene was born in Chicago and grew up between the US and as small farm outside Belturbet, Co Cavan. His late father David Grene, a classics translator and professor at the University of Chicago, was born in Donnybrook, Dublin.

Mr Grene's mother Ethel May Weiss is an emergency room doctor who was born in Chicago. His half-brother Nicholas Grene is a professor of English at Trinity College Dublin. Mr Grene has a twin brother Gregory, who is a founder member of US-based Celtic rock band The Prodigals.

Mr Grene’s wife Jennifer is from Belfast and the couple’s two eldest children Patrick (20) and Alex (19) were born in Belfast. His daughter Rosamund (14) was born in Chicago.

President Mary McAleese extended her sympathy to Mr Grene’s family.

“Andrew dedicated his life to serving others through his work with the United Nations and it is indeed tragic that he should have died in this way,” she said.

Extending his condolences and that of the Irish Government to Mr Grene's family, Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, described him as "a true humanitarian."

"Andrew is part of a long and honourable Irish tradition of public service with the United Nations. His family, and indeed Ireland, can be very proud of his work. He was also a citizen of the United States and I know that that country also takes pride in his achievements," he said.

"My thoughts are with Andrew’s wife and children and all his family and friends at this difficult time," the Minister added.

The UN has confirmed that at least 40 members of the peacekeeping mission have been killed and about 180 others are unaccounted for.