Minister Martin welcomes appointment of Irish official as new United Nations Legal Counsel
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., today welcomed the appointment of Patricia O’Brien as Legal Counsel of the United Nations and Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs. The appointment was announced by Ban Ki Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, this afternoon. Ms. O’Brien is currently the Legal Adviser of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In a telephone conversation with Secretary-General Ban, the Minister told him that he was delighted that he had chosen such an accomplished Irish public servant for this very senior position. Minister Martin described the appointment as a great honour for both Ms. O’Brien and for Ireland and said that it reflects very well on the State’s long-standing commitment to an international order based on the rule of law. He wished Ms. O’Brien every success in her new position.
Note to editors
The Legal Counsel of the United Nations is the legal adviser to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and acts on his behalf in all legal matters. The Legal Counsel also heads the Office of Legal Affairs at UN Headquarters in New York which provides advisory services to the United Nations and its principal organs, carries out the treaty depository functions of the Secretary-General and promotes the progressive development and codification of international law. The Office has a staff of 160.
As one of a small number of Under-Secretaries General, Ms. O’Brien will join the UN Senior Management Group, which serves as the Secretary-General's cabinet and the central policy planning body of the United Nations. UN Legal Counsel is one of the most senior posts within the UN system ever to be occupied by an Irish person.
Ms. O’Brien has been Legal Adviser to the Department of Foreign Affairs since 2003. Prior to joining the Department she was a Senior Legal Adviser in the Office of the Attorney General and also served as Legal Counsellor at Ireland's Permanent Representation to the European Union in Brussels. She has practised at the Bars of Ireland and Canada and has taught law at the University of British Columbia.
Ms. O’Brien was educated at Clermont, Rathnew, Trinity College Dublin and the King’s Inns.
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