UNITED NATIONS. Ireland's Andrew Grene.


15 FEBRUARY 2010


Ireland's colour is Green.

Andrew's name was Grene. He was proud of being Irish and working for the U.N.

He joined the Department of Public Information as a very young man. The beginning of his international career was to assist colleagues. He was so keen on helping. With a smile. He first drafted reports, statements, speeches -- whatever was required of him. With a smile. Always friendly, young Andrew. Always available to do his best. His studious look belied a cheerful soul and a refreshing sense of humour. He joined the Secretary General's office, the Department of Public Affairs and Peacekeeping, displaying the same qualities that made him popular amongst all colleagues at all ranks. He joined the Mission in Haiti as Special Assistant to the Special Representative of the Secretary General.

During the world telethon, Hope for Haiti, on Friday 22 January, two celebrities singled out Andrew as an example of a dedicated honourable and effective civil servant.

First, actor Matt Damon spoke of Andrew at length: a hard worker, loving husband, caring father of three young kids, whose need was to help make life better for others -- he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life, to serve that cause.

Then, actor, director, producer Clint Eastwood mentioned Andrew again as a symbol of youthful dedication and effectual care for human suffering.

It was amazing that such a self-effacing individual who kept his personal life to himself and gave every bit of himself to others has gained so much admiration by many of those who were not in daily touch with him.

As we bid him farewell, we recall the title of that lovely Irish tune: "Andrew, we hardly knew ye."