Higgins visit: Eight key Coalition advisers and top civil servants attended banquet

Details on royal occasion published on British monarchy’s official website

At least eight key Government advisors and senior civil servants attended last week's royal banquet at Windsor Castle for the official state visit of President Michael D Higgins, according to details published on the official website of the British monarchy.

While full guest list information was not forthcoming through official Irish channels last week, a breakdown of exactly who got a seat at the most sought after of diplomatic dinners emerged in the weekend circular.

At the main banquet on Tuesday night, officials from Ireland included: secretary general to the President Adrian O'Neill; Martin Fraser, secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach; David Cooney, secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs; Orla O'Hanrahan, chief of protocol and Liam Herrick, adviser to the President.

Mark Kennelly and Andrew McDowell, chief of staff and adviser to the Taoiseach respectively, and Mark Garrett chief adviser to Tánaiste Eamonn Gilmore also attended.


Former Irish attorney general Peter Sutherland and incoming secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs Niall Burgess were also among the dignitaries.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore and his wife Carol Hanney, the Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall and his wife Greta and Col Brendan McAndrew, aide-de-camp to President Higgins, were listed as part of the suite of the President of Ireland.

They joined celebrities and other public figures including Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day Lewis, Dr John Bowman, fashion designer Louise Kennedy, Brian O'Driscoll and wife Amy Huberman, milliner Philip Treacy and Sir Terry Wogan.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times