SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Dermot Gallagher (civil servant)

Dermot Anthony Gallagher was an Irish civil servant and the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs. He left office as Secretary-General on 24 January 2009 and was replaced by David Cooney, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom. In February 2009 he was nominated to be Chairman of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission and was appointed Chairman of University College Dublin Governing Authority. Gallagher was born in Carrick-on-Shannon, where he played at left half forward for Leitrim at minor and Under-21 level, he was the son of a Garda sergeant. His interest in the wider world was sparked by observing Guinness barges arriving in his native town and speculating about their places of origin; this curiosity was refined under the tutelage of Professor Desmond Williams, who taught a course on diplomatic history at University College Dublin. Having taken his MA in History at UCD, Gallagher joined the Civil Service applying for a position in the Department of External Affairs, as it was called, starting in the job on 6 January 1969.

His first minister was Frank Aiken, who talked to him in Irish, having learned that his new junior official was fluent in the language. That year, Aiken was succeeded by Dr Patrick Hillery and the event took place, to shape Gallagher's life: the North erupted into violence. On Saturday, 16 August 1969, Gallagher, as weekend duty officer for the department, encountered a group of nationalist MPs from the North, including Paddy Devlin, who arrived at Iveagh House demanding to meet Taoiseach Jack Lynch to obtain arms for the beleaguered Catholics of the Falls Road in Belfast, he told them. His first foreign posting was to the Irish consulate in San Francisco in August 1971 – he and his college sweetheart, Maeve Farrell, from Ratoath, Co Meath, had just been married the previous month. After a few sojourns at the United Nations in New York City, Gallagher found himself at the Irish Embassy in London serving from 1973 to 1977 as press officer, he was present at the Sunningdale negotiations in 1973, leading to the ill-fated powersharing deal.

He was sent to Brussels in the early 1980s as a deputy chef de cabinet with the European Commission. He got his first ambassadorial posting in 1985 – in Lagos, where his contacts with Irish missionaries in particular taught him "a great deal about what matters in life", he returned to Dublin to take charge of the Anglo-Irish division, with responsibility for Northern Ireland policy. That was the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement, which Charles Haughey had vehemently opposed in opposition, but when Haughey took over as Taoiseach in 1987 he told Gallagher he wanted the agreement implemented "fully and imaginatively". He was appointed Ambassador to the US in 1991 where, as usual, he developed a wide range of friendships and contacts. One of these was Bill Clinton governor of Arkansas, his White House contacts proved advantageous when the nascent Irish peace process faced its first major challenge: securing a US visa for Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. After his posting in Washington DC he returned home in 1997 with the title of Second Secretary General.

Bertie Ahern was eager to make a contribution to peace in the North. Gallagher put together a team of officials for the negotiations at Stormont, including David Cooney, who succeeded him as Secretary General. After the success of the Good Friday Agreement, Gallagher moved to the Department of the Taoiseach as Secretary General of that department. After his departure, this post was combined with the position of Secretary-General to the Government, under Dermot McCarthy, it was back to Iveagh House as that department's Secretary-General. The Governing Authority of University College Dublin approved the appointment of Gallagher as chairman on Tuesday, 24 February 2009, to replace Kieran McGowan, who chaired the Governing Authority since February 2004

Selchenbach

Selchenbach is an Ortsgemeinde – a municipality belonging to a Verbandsgemeinde, a kind of collective municipality – in the Kusel district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It belongs to the Verbandsgemeinde of Kusel-Altenglan. Selchenbach is a linear village – by some definitions a thorpe – that lies at the Oster valley in the Western Palatinate, right on the boundary with the Saarland. Selchenbach lies at an elevation of 380 to 390 m above sea level on the upper reaches of the Selchenbach; the Selchenbach itself rises south of the municipal area near the Königreicher Hof, flows through the village of Selchenbach and the village of Herchweiler to the north and turns in a broad bow back south, emptying near Haupersweiler into the Oster. This puts Selchenbach within the Saar-Blies drainage basin, with the mountains east of the village marking the watershed between this and the Glan-Nahe drainage basin on the other side; the heights on either side of the valley rise to more than 400 m above sea level.

A major contiguous forested area stretches to the village's north. The municipal area measures 479 ha. Selchenbach borders in the northeast on the municipality of Albessen, in the southeast on the municipality of Langenbach, in the south and west on the town of Sankt Wendel and in the northwest on the municipality of Herchweiler. Selchenbach meets the municipality of Konken at a single point in the northeast. Selchenbach's Ortsteile are Unterselchenbach. Selchenbach, made up of two centres called Oberselchenbach and Unterselchenbach, stretches for some one thousand metres on the Selchenbach's left bank and on both sides of Bundesstraße 420, held to be the village's main street. A new building zone was opened up in the 1990s on Birkenweg. From the main street, several short sidestreets branch off. From south to north, these are Alte Hohl, Im Eck and Birkenweg, Osterbrücker Weg and, somewhat longer, Siedlungsweg with the village community centre, the graveyard and the chapel; the pattern is broken somewhat in Unterselchenbach, where the old village street, Alte Straße, owing to improvements made in 1938, was replaced with a bypass.

Here, the Selchenbach bows to the northwest, thus ending up on the other side of the street. Other streets in Unterselchenbach are Mühlweg. Despite the latter's name “Mill Way”, it has been a long time since any mill stood in this area. Archaeological finds in the Selchenbach area go back to the Stone Age, among them two stone axes. One of these was found by a farmer, it was some 10 cm long, it is now in private ownership. The other was discovered; the exact spot of this discovery, the piece's appearance and its whereabouts are now no longer known. As well, several barrows from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age are to be found within Selchenbach's limits, such as the ones on the burying ground north of the village near Bundesstraße 420, which stretches into Herchweiler's and Langenbach's municipal areas. There are three other barrows on the Eichelberg's west slope. Many isolated finds have been made near various barrows, whose whereabouts are now unknown. There is a Roman road running from the Krottelbacher Loch towards Herchweiler.

Though Selchenbach was grouped into the so-called Remigiusland in a 14th-century Grenzscheidweistum, this did not mean that the village had lain within the Remigiusland since its founding. The Counts of Veldenz, beginning in the 13th century, counted some areas as parts of the Remigiusland that had not before been owned by the Archbishopric of Reims, but rather by the Archbishopric of Mainz. Among the Mainz holdings were Ohmbach, some places around Niederkirchen and, quite Selchenbach, too; the two archbishoprics’ holdings belonged to the Imperial Domain around the Royal Castle Lautern. The village of Selchenbach is known with certainty only to have arisen a few hundred years after a Frankish king donated the lands to the Archbishoprics of Reims and Mainz. In 1127, Count Gerlach I from the Nahegau founded the County of Veldenz and became at the same time the Schutzvogt over the ecclesiastical properties in question. In 1262, Selchenbach had a documentary mention, according to which a priest gave the Wörschweiler Monastery some landholds, among them a garden at Selchenbach.

At this time, the older line of the Counts of Veldenz were drawing towards their last days. Count Gerlach V was a member of a German delegation that offered King Alfonso X of Castile the German crown during the Great Interregnum, he died shortly after returning from this mission to his county. Not long before Gerlach's death, his daughter Agnes had been born, her grandfather, Count Heinrich of Zweibrücken, assumed the regency for her. Count Gerlach V had bequeathed most of his landholds to the Wörschweiler Monastery, which held consequences for Selchenbach, since land in the area around the village had now passed to the monastery; as the Middle Ages went on, the placename Selchenbach cropped up in taxation rolls, in Weistümer and in enfeoffment documents, as for example in one from 1430, according to which Syfrit Bliek von Lichtenberg bestowed upon his wife Katerine von Sötern, among other things from his feudal holdings, “13 Hahnen of the forests at Selchenbach”. This mention makes clear t