49. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the fact that there may be potential security risks for the State in the near future due to the ongoing presence of Russian diplomats working here; if he has had discussions with An Garda Síochána and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade regarding these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16537/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can assure the Deputy that the Government affords the highest priority to the State’s security.
As he will be aware, An Garda Síochána carries out a range of functions in safeguarding our national security, including actions to counter terrorist threats, to support international security and to protect the State and its vital interests, where necessary, from espionage and unlawful acts of foreign interference.
In this regard the Gard...

53. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the level of contact that took place between his Department, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and An Garda Síochána with regard to the recent expulsion of a Russian diplomat; if he is satisfied that all due process was followed with regard to the role of his Department and An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 16535/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy will be aware, the formal relations between states in respect of diplomatic representation are governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, which Ireland ratified in 1967. These two international treaties codify what is perhaps one of the oldest and most accepted fields of international law, namely the formal relations between states and their officia...

64. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has requested the Garda Commissioner to explain when and the way in which the information contained in the intelligence report that led to the expulsion of a Russian diplomat came to light regarding the activities of the person concerned; the number of meetings that took place between An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and other organisations in relation to completing the intelligence report; and if he is satisfied that An Garda Síochána has been appropriately monitoring this reported security threat. (Question 16538/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can assure the Deputy that the Government affords the highest priority to the State’s security.
An Garda Síochána carries out a range of functions in safeguarding our national security, including actions to counter terrorist threats, to support international security and to protect the State and its vital interests, where necessary, from espionage and unlawful acts of foreign interference.
In this regard, the Garda Authorities work v...

164. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his officials were contacted by the Russian ambassador. (Question 15077/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I refer the Deputy to my reply to Parliamentary Question No. 136, reference No. 14154-18, of 28 March 2018. Since then, on 2 April 2018, the Russian Ambassador contacted the Secretary General of my Department to advise him of Russia’s decision to convene an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. The meeting took place on 4 April 2018.
On ...

177. Deputy James Browne asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open an embassy in Iran in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15389/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Embassy of Ireland in Ankara is accredited on a non-residential basis to Iran. Ireland is also represented in Iran by an Honorary Consul.
A range of factors are taken into account in considering our diplomatic representation overseas, including our national political, economic and trade priorities, as well as the availability of resources. The Government is conscious of the political, economic and trade factors tha...

188. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on whether the decision to expel a Russian diplomat from Ireland was premature and unwarranted (details supplied); if he will be apologising to the Russian ambassador; the steps he will take to repair Irish-Russian relations in the wake of the expulsion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 15836/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Following on from extensive briefings by the United Kingdom at senior official level and to EU Foreign Ministers, Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the European Council on 22 March. She made a compelling case in support of her government’s assessment that it is highly likely that the Russian Federation was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, with a military-grade nerve agent, and t...

92. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the full year cost of running an embassy; the full year cost of running a consulate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14717/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): As I indicated in my reply to the same question from the Deputy on 16 January, the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s embassy and consulate network around the world continues to be important to Ireland’s economic development and the enhancement of our international reputation. The total network, of currently some 73 embassies and consulates and 7 multilateral missions, promotes Ireland’s political, ec...

73. Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if the Irish embassy due to open in Columbia will be active in addressing human rights issues there; and if it will address the concerns of the communities along the Choco River in particular. (Question 14052/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The decision to open an Irish embassy in Colombia, which was announced last October, is an important next step in expanding Ireland’s footprint in Latin America. It represents a very positive development in Ireland-Colombia relations. While the embassy will seek to develop all aspects of the bilateral relationship, Ireland has made a particular commitment to supporting the peace process and, as a consequence, is very e...

136. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he or his officials have spoken to the Russian ambassador in Dublin. (Question 14154/18 asked on 28 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): At last week’s European Council meeting, EU leaders unanimously agreed with the UK government’s assessment that the Russian Federation is highly likely to have been responsible for the attack in Salisbury on 4 March 2018, and that there is no plausible alternative explanation. They condemned the attack in the strongest possible manner and affirmed their unqualified solidarity with the United Kingdom in the face of this ...

7. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that citizens of Venezuela living here are having difficulty in renewing their passports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10843/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The issuing of passports is solely a matter for the issuing country and it would not be appropriate for me to comment.
I am, however, glad of this opportunity to reiterate my deep concern at the situation in Venezuela, including the growing humanitarian crisis. The matter was discussed at the meeting of EU Foreign Ministers which I attended in Brussels last week.
It was agreed at that meeting that the EU would continue t...

15. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the formal engagements with the New Zealand Minister for Foreign Affairs Winston Peters that have taken place recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11496/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I am glad to report that Ireland-New Zealand bilateral relations have never been closer, and that 2017 saw an unprecedented amount of high-level contact between our two countries, culminating in the very successful State Visit there by President Higgins last October. I am pleased to confirm that Ireland will open a resident diplomatic mission in Wellington, New Zealand in the coming months, and that New Zealand also pla...

137. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade when the First Secretary post will be filled at the Irish Permanent Representation to OECD and UNESCO; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 4182/18 asked on 30 Jan 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The assignment and posting of officers to diplomatic missions overseas is an operational matter for the Department. Decisions are subject to a number of considerations including the matching of officers’ skills to posts and the staffing profile of missions, the Planned Postings Policy and wider staffing needs across the Department. Vacant positions abroad, including that referenced by the Deputy, are usually filled as ...

53. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which Irish diplomatic staff abroad are engaged with promoting trade; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 3895/18 asked on 25 Jan 2018 - Diplomatic Representation)

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Advancing Ireland’s trade, tourism, education and investment objectives through economic diplomacy and related activities is a high level goal of Ireland’s foreign policy, informing and directing the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and our mission network. The Department’s international network plays a crucial role in supporting Irish businesses to grow overseas, in promoting our wider trade intere...

534. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the Irish Embassies worldwide which have agricultural attachés stationed; and the number of such attachés stationed in each such specific embassy by city and country. (Question 53634/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Deputy Michael Creed): There are agricultural attachés based in eight Irish embassies worldwide. There is one attaché stationed in each of the following locations:
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Beijing, China
Geneva, Switzerland
London, UK
Paris, France
Rome, Italy
Washington, United States
There are four attachés based in Brussels, Belgium.
 ...

164. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the timeframe for an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50773/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I have been advised by officials from the Embassy of Ireland in Ankara that it is not possible to provide a timeframe for an appeals process in the Turkish courts to be completed, as this timeframe can vary from case to case. An appeal process is a judicial process and the Irish Government has no role in a matter such as this which is before the courts of another jurisdiction. Embassy officials are aware that this citizen has been ...

170. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the average full year cost of running an embassy and the average full year cost of running a consulate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50954/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The Department is responsible for two Votes – Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs and Trade) and Vote 27 (International Cooperation). Thee work of our embassy and consulate network around the world continues to be important in Ireland’s economic recovery and the restoration of our international reputation. Our network promotes Ireland’s political, economic and cultural interests and values, provide services to our citizens, develop strategic ...

171. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of additional embassy staff that have been hired since the Brexit referendum result of 23 June 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50955/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Brexit is undoubtedly one of the most significant challenges the country will face in the coming years in terms of the peace process and relationships within and between these islands. Protecting our economic interests in terms of trade and investment with the UK is a key priority for my Department, as well as the need to drive further diversification of our trade and investment flows globally. We have already augmented our diploma...

126. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open an Irish embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia; if Georgia is included in plans to double the Irish diplomatic footprint by 2025; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 49482/17 asked on 22 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): The doubling of Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 commenced with the recent Government decisions to open new Embassies in Santiago, Chile; Bogotá, Colombia; Amman, Jordan; and Wellington, New Zealand; and new Consulates General in Vancouver, western Canada and Mumbai, India, on a phased basis from 2018. This will expand Ireland’s diplomatic network to 65 Embassies, 7 multilateral missions, 13 Consulates General and one Representati...

1. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to double Ireland’s global footprint; the meetings held and preparations made for same; if his Department is undertaking research on the costs involved; if so, the expected publication date of such research; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 48485/17 asked on 16 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Deputy Darragh O’Brien: In light of the Taoiseach’s repeated announcements and the Minister’s follow-up announcements, will the Minister provide an update on the plans to double Ireland’s global footprint, including the meetings held and preparations made for same? Is his Department undertaking research on the required costs involved and, if so, will it publish both the plan and a list of priorities as to where and when new embassies and consulates will be opened?
 ...

466. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to re-open the Irish office in Taipei, Taiwan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46816/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): Ireland, like all EU Member States and the EU itself, adheres to the One China policy and does not recognise Taiwan as a State. As a result, Ireland does not have diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but does engage with Taiwan on an economic and cultural basis. Ireland enjoys a strong trading relationship with Taiwan. According to the Central Statistics Office, total bilateral trade between Ireland and Taiwan exceeded €1 billion in 20...

207. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the announcement that Ireland will open five new diplomatic missions between 2018 and 2019; the timeframe for opening these new embassies and consulates; the estimated cost of each mission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43737/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

208. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which the €2 million allocated in budget 2018 to expanding Ireland’s global footprint will be utilised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43738/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

209. Deputy Darragh O’Brien asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the way in which the €3.5 million allocated in budget 2018 to the Article 50 negotiations will be utilised; if it will result in additional staff in his Department; the details of the way in which the money will be spent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 43739/17 asked on 17 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation Expenditure)

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Simon Coveney): I propose to take Questions Nos. 207 to 209, inclusive, together.
The opening of three new embassies in Santiago, Chile, Bogotá, Colombia and Amman, Jordan and two new consulates general in Vancouver, Canada and Mumbai, India between 2018 and 2019 is an important first step in doubling Ireland’s global footprint by 2025 and building our capacity to respond to the complexity of the challenges we face in the years ahead. 
This phase of...

6. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Taoiseach if he will report his commitment to double the number of staff in Government agencies globally by 2025. (Question 39662/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, together.
While in Canada recently I announced a plan to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025.
Work is now under way, involving relevant Departments and agencies, to develop a fully worked-through plan for consideration by the Government later this year. The plan, which will take a strategic approach, will identify locations or areas that should be an immediate focus, as well as those which should be part of our medium-term...

7. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Taoiseach if he will report on the Ireland’s Global Footprint 2025 plan which intends to double the number of Government agency staff worldwide by 2025. (Question 41493/17 asked on 03 Oct 2017 - Diplomatic Representation)

The Taoiseach: I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 to 8, inclusive, together.
While in Canada recently I announced a plan to double Ireland’s global footprint by 2025.
Work is now under way, involving relevant Departments and agencies, to develop a fully worked-through plan for consideration by the Government later this year. The plan, which will take a strategic approach, will identify locations or areas that should be an immediate focus, as well as those which should be part of our medium-term...