The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
The Department consists of divisions and units at headquarters and a total of 80 diplomatic and consular offices abroad, often called "missions", as well as the British Irish Inter-Governmental Secretariat in Belfast and the North-South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat in Armagh.
The Department’s headquarters provides policy support to the Government, key public services and assists the work of the embassy network. Our Embassies are uniquely placed to perform an important range of activities from representational duties to promotional work to providing crucial services to Irish people abroad.
Under the political direction of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney T.D. the Department is managed by the Secretary General. The Secretary General is Niall Burgess.
The Secretary General is supported by the Management Board. Embassies report to lead divisions or units based on priorities and geographical responsibilities.
Ireland, United Kingdom, and Americas Division works to promote peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland through full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement. The Division also has lead responsibility for bilateral relations with the UK, the US, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The Director General of Ireland, United Kingdom and Americas Division also has responsibility for Consular Services, which is responsible for delivering consular services to Irish citizens and for Irish Abroad Unit.
Development Cooperation Division manages and delivers the Government’s overseas aid programme, Irish Aid. The Division also has responsibility for all aspects of Ireland’s bilateral relations with Africa.
Trade Division is responsible for trade promotion strategy and coordination, the Export Trade Council, economic messaging and cultural relations. The Division’s Director General also has oversight of Asia Pacific Unit, which manages bilateral relations with Asian and Pacific Island countries (including New Zealand and Australia).
Europe Division has responsibility for all aspects of bilateral relations with EU and other European countries, for EU Enlargement and EU External relations in the European and Central Asian space. It maintains close contact on all key EU matters with the EU Division in the Department of the Taoiseach. The Division is also the Departmental lead on migration issues.
Political Division manages the political aspects of foreign policy. It leads on human rights, disarmament and non-proliferation, international security policy, drugs and terrorism, UN issues, the OSCE and the Council of Europe. It is also responsible for coordination of Ireland’s contribution to the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy. The Political Director also has oversight of Middle East and North Africa Unit, which manages bilateral relations with Middle East, North African and Gulf countries.
Corporate Services Division provides Human Resource Management, Training and Development, Information Communications Technology, Property Management, Security Coordination, Compliance and services to Headquarters and Missions. Corporate Services Division has responsibility for implementing the Public Service Reform Agenda across the Department, in cooperation with the Secretary General and the Strategy and Performance Unit.
Finance Division has responsibility for all aspects of the Department's finance and budgetary functions, including the development and implementation of the Department’s finance strategy, across both Votes 27 and 28. The Division is managed by the Chief Financial Officer.
Legal Division provides legal advice on public international law, human rights law and European Union law as it relates to foreign policy, and issues of domestic law particular to the Department; leads on international legal policy on international humanitarian law, international criminal justice and the law of the sea; represents Ireland in international legal proceedings and in legal committees in international organisations; carries out functions with respect to extradition and mutual legal assistance; and administers the Department’s Treaty Office.
HQ Stand Alone Units
Protocol is responsible for the preparation and organisation of visits abroad by the President and visits to Ireland at Head of State, Head of Government and Foreign Minister level. The Protocol service also facilitates the operation of diplomatic missions in Ireland in accordance with international and domestic legislation.
Communications Unit promotes and facilitates external communication of the Department’s work and priorities. The Unit also manages the press, information and online presence of the Department.
Strategy and Performance Unit leads on the formulation of Departmental strategy, reviews the operations and systems of the Department, and makes recommendations for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department. It leads on business planning and risk management, as well as knowledge management, and supports the implementation of the Public Service Reform Agenda across the Department.
Evaluation and Audit Unit provides an independent evaluation and audit function to the Department. Audit helps identify strengths and weaknesses in our systems, and offers advice on how to improve controls, while Evaluation generates evidence in relation to performance in order to help inform how the work of the Department might be more effective.
Policy Planning Unit works to contribute to strategic policy formulation within DFAT by leading and coordinating analysis of longer-term trends in policy areas of priority interest within Ireland’s external relations, to inform our future actions.
Where we are
The Department has its headquarters in Iveagh House, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. Irish Aid is based in Limerick and Dublin, while some offices of the Department are based in other locations in central Dublin. Our Passport Offices are located in Dublin, Balbriggan and Cork.
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