Death of Department of Foreign Affairs’ legal adviser a ‘huge loss’

Barrister James Kingston advised ministers and officials for more than 25 years

The death has occured of James Kingston, legal adviser at the Department of Foreign Affairs and a member of its management board for the past 13 years.

A qualified barrister, Mr Kingston joined the department in 1995 and became legal adviser in 2009. He advised on EU and human rights law and provided legal counsel to the department on matters ranging from Brexit and the Lisbon Treaty to the European Stability Mechanism and the International Criminal Court. He also taught law at Trinity College Dublin.

Mr Kingston worked closely with successive ministers for foreign affairs, the department's secretary general and other officials on domestic and international matters through his work with the European Union, the Council of Europe, the United Nations and other international bodies.

While Mr Kingston had been unwell for a number of years, colleagues at the department reacted with shock to his sudden death.

“The passing of such a brilliant, principled and compassionate individual and public servant is a huge loss to those who loved him, to this department and to public life,” the department said in a statement, adding that staff, past and present , would “acutely feel his loss”.

“We have lost a colleague of great conviction, intellect and courage. We have also lost a thoroughly decent and thoughtful person. He will be deeply missed.”

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is The Irish Times’s Public Affairs Editor and former Washington correspondent