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Tánaiste announces expansion of Irish Embassy network in support of trade & aid

Tánaiste announces expansion of Irish Embassy network in support of trade & aid

This will include five new Embassies and three new Consulates, which will be established in locations across South East Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, T.D., has announced an expansion of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade diplomatic network abroad. This will include five new Embassies and three new Consulates, which will be established in locations across South East Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.

The proposed expansion of the Embassy network is specifically designed to support trade and inward investment, and takes account of the soon-to-be published Review of the Government’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Strategy.

Making the announcement, the Tánaiste said:

“Ireland has long been underrepresented abroad by comparison with other countries of a similar size and reputation to ours. While we have just 300 diplomats promoting our economic and strategic interests in 73 locations abroad, countries like Norway, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands have a far greater global presence which leaves Ireland at a distinct disadvantage when trying to compete in both emerging and established markets.

In doing this, we are closing some of the obvious gaps where Ireland currently has little or no footprint. Our aim is to complement the work and global presence of our State agencies as we continue to win new business for Ireland.

I will continue to keep the Embassy network under review, particularly in light of the forthcoming Review of Ireland’s Foreign Policy.”

Embassies will be established for the first time in the fast-growing economies of Thailand (Bangkok) and Indonesia (Jakarta). Consulates General are to be established in the financial and business hubs of Hong Kong (China) and Sao Paulo (Brazil), and in the booming tech hub of Austin, Texas (USA).

Following the recent accession of Croatia as the 28th member state of the European Union, an Embassy will be established in Zagreb, in line with the Government’s current policy of maintaining a diplomatic presence in every EU capital.

The Government will also re-open an embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. This will support Ireland’s aid programme, Irish Aid and help to accelerate the planned transition from ‘aid to trade’ in Africa. A scaled-back, one-person embassy with a focus on international development is to be re-established at the Holy See. This will enable Ireland to engage directly with the leadership of Pope Francis on the issues of poverty eradication, hunger and human rights.

The Tánaiste added:

“Over the past five years our diplomats have been tasked with the frontline role in restoring Ireland’s once-tattered reputation abroad, and in championing our economic cause. And they have been hugely successful in doing that – both in European capitals, influencing key decisions at European Council level, and in major cities, organisations and political capitals around the world.

This expansion of the Embassy network will help to bolster that effort, and, crucially, to drive Ireland’s economic recovery which has been export-led.

It will equip Ireland to take advantage of emerging opportunities and will provide certainty for business that resources will be in place to support them in key markets and regions. In short, it is an investment in the future of our country.”

The cost of establishing the new missions is expected to come to a net €4.7 million annually, and will be covered from within the existing Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade budget. The new Embassies and consulates will be small in size, ranging from one to three diplomatic staff.

As part of the same process, the existing Embassy network will also undergo some rationalisation and redeployment of staff. Ireland’s Embassy to Lesotho will be closed, with Ireland’s Embassy in South Africa assuming responsibility for the Kingdom of Lesotho. The Irish Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania, will also be downsized.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s existing Irish Aid office in Freetown, Sierra Leone, will be upgraded to Embassy status, at no additional cost to the State.

Map of new embassies and consulates announced across the globe


Press Office

21 January 2014



  • Ireland’s diplomatic network currently comprises 56 Embassies, 7 multilateral missions (including to the United Nations and the European Union) and 10 Consulates General and other offices. Through them, we maintain diplomatic relations with 176 states.
  • Ireland’s Embassies and Consulates General work very closely with the State Agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland, to promote exports, tourism and inward investment.
  • In 2013, Ireland’s Embassies supported 18 Ministerial-led Enterprise Ireland trade missions involving Irish companies, as well as a range of other overseas Ministerial visits designed to drive job growth at home by increasing trade and investment opportunities in mature and high growth markets. 

The list of Embassies and Consulates General is as follows:


  • Thailand (Bangkok)
  • Indonesia (Jakarta)
  • Croatia (Zagreb)
  • Kenya (Nairobi)
  • The Holy See

Consulates General

  • Hong Kong
  • Austin, Texas, the US
  • Sao Paulo


Both Embassies and Consulates represent our Government within another country. Embassies are located in the capital of a country and headed by an Ambassador. Embassies focus on political and economic relations with the host country, as well as trade and consular assistance.

A Consulate General is a smaller representative office which carries out similar work in promoting trade and providing services to Irish citizens, particularly in large countries where Ireland has significant interests.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is leading the Review of the Government Strategy for Trade, Tourism and Investment in close collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and other Government Departments and State Agencies involved in promoting trade, tourism and investment.

The Review is designed to ensure that the State coordinates its efforts overseas in a manner which yields the best possible economic return.