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Minister Flanagan convenes meeting of Ireland’s Ambassadors and Consuls General in Dublin

Minister highlights role of diplomats in responding to new international challenges

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, will today welcome Irish Ambassadors and Consuls General from more than 80 locations globally back to Dublin Castle for a Departmental Conference.

Speaking in advance of the conference, Minister Flanagan said:

“I have convened this meeting to discuss with our most senior representatives abroad how we, as a Department and a Government, can best respond to the critical challenges Ireland faces today.  As a small open economy, Ireland’s reputation overseas is a critical aspect of our capacity to attract international investors.  Ireland’s diplomats played an important role in restoring Ireland’s damaged reputation following our economic crash; we now face new challenges, including responding to the outcome of Brexit which will involve the most important set of multilateral and bilateral negotiations in a generation.

“The Programme for Government contains important commitments in respect of new cross-sectoral strategies for Asia-Pacific and the Americas.  Delivering on these new strategies, along with my Department’s new economic diplomacy strategy and market diversification drive, are important priorities for my Department in the period ahead. I look forward to engaging in detailed discussions with our diplomats and hearing their perspectives on advancing these commitments.

“I will be charging our diplomats with the task of reinforcing the message globally that Ireland is committed to the European Union, to strengthening and deepening our relationships with Great Britain, and to maintaining Ireland as a superb place to do business.

“With missions scattered across 80 locations around the world where diplomatic relations are maintained with over 178 countries, a conference which brings heads of mission together provides critical opportunities to share best practice.  For example, since the last conference our consular services and missions around the world have dealt with a whole series of complex cases and there will be a special session on this area of policy.

“I am pleased that we will be joined by a number of influential speakers over the four days of the conference, including Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koendersformer European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy; UN Special Representative on International Migration, Peter Sutherland; Director at the European University Institute in Florence, Brigid Laffan; and Tom Fletcher, former UK Ambassador to the Lebanon and author of the recent ‘Future FCO’ report on the British Foreign Service.”

Conference attendees will also be addressed by a number of Government ministers.

In addition to deliberations on Ireland’s role in the EU and political relations with London, Edinburgh and Belfast, agenda items for Ambassadors and Consuls General this week will include Ireland’s upcoming UN Security Council campaign; humanitarian challenges; trade and how the Department can best assist Irish companies overseas; reform of the Passport Service; readiness for consular emergencies abroad; and Ireland’s bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup.


Press Office

29 August 2016


Note for Editors:

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade currently manages a network of 80 Missions (Embassies, Consulates or Permanent Representations) dedicated to promoting Ireland’s interests and values in 178 countries and in multilateral organisations.

The mission of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is to serve the Irish people, promote their values and advance their prosperity abroad, and to provide the Government with the capabilities, analysis and influence to ensure that Ireland derives the maximum benefit from all areas of its external engagement.

This work of the Department is articulated in its current Statement of Strategy under 5 High-Level Goals: 

  • Our People: To serve our people at home and abroad and to promote reconciliation and cooperation
  • Our Values: To work for a fairer, more just, secure and sustainable world
  • Our Prosperity: To advance Ireland’s prosperity by promoting our economic interests internationally
  • Our Place in Europe: To protect and advance Ireland’s values and interests in Europe
  • Our Influence: To strengthen our influence and our capacity to deliver our goals

In 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and its staff:

- Issued 672,769 passports and provided consular services to 60,000 citizens and businesses;

- Organised 29 high-level trade-focused visits to 70 cities for St. Patrick’s Day;

- Increased funding for 1,600 peace and reconciliation projects to over €34 million since 2004;

- Provided funding for more than 260 cultural events through its Embassies and Consulates;

- Dedicated €142 million – or 22% of our overall ODA budget – to humanitarian emergencies;

- Brought funding for diaspora groups worldwide to €135 million since 2004;

- Continued to advance Irish interests in the EU and the UN, in partnership with Departments and agencies in Ireland.