A FORMER Omagh woman has said it has been a “great honour” to be appointed as the UK’s first-ever female Ambassador to Germany.
Jill Gallard (52), whose parents, Leslie and Margaret Parkinson, were teachers at Omagh High School, only took up her new role last week.
It coincided with the arrival in Germany of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, whom she accompanied in Berlin.
The Royal couple were attending this year’s Remembrance Day service in the German Parliament at the invitation of Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Born in Omagh in 1968, it is understood that Ms Gallard and her family lived in the Arleston Road area before later moving to Co Antrim, where she was a pupil at Ballyclare High School.
She studied French and Spanish at Edinburgh University and speaks German, fluent French, Spanish and Portuguese, and some Czech.
Since joining the Diplomatic Service in 1991, her career in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office has focused on Europe with postings in Prague, Madrid and at the European Commission in Brussels.
She has also had a wide range of jobs in London, mainly working on the EU and wider Europe.
Commenting on her new role, Ms Gallard said, “It is a great honour to be the British Ambassador to Germany.
“When it comes to the most critical problems facing the world today – from dealing with Covid-19 to climate change – the UK and Germany often share the same positions.
“I look forward to maintaining and cultivating the many friendly ties that exist between our two countries.”
This is her fifth posting in a European country.
From 2018 to 2020 she worked as Deputy Political Director and Director Western Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean in London. Prior to that, she was the Director of Human Resources.
Between 2011 and 2014, the married mother-of-two was the British Ambassador to Portugal.