On Thursday the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD, presented a range of initiatives to add to the Government’s Global Ireland programme.
The Minister described the connecting theme for all five memoranda as Ireland’s rapidly evolving role in the world, saying that:
“Our Global Ireland programme, launched in June 2018, is now demonstrably providing a robust foundation for a broader, deeper engagement for Ireland with the world, and will be a major platform in renewing international connections and getting Ireland back on the world stage.”
The five memoranda to Government covered the following:
- Proposals for four new overseas Missions – new Consulates General in Miami (United States of America), Toronto (Canada), Lyon (France) and a new Embassy in Dakar, (Senegal).
- The appointment of New Heads of Mission in strategically important locations.
- Ireland’s chairing of the UN Security Council in September, which will highlight our work on the Council focused on building peace, strengthening conflict prevention and ensuring accountability.
- An update on Ireland’s participation in EXPO 2020 Dubai – a key platform for Ireland’s post pandemic international recovery, providing an important showcase to promote the country, as it will be one of the major global gatherings since the onset of COVID-19.
- An overview of Ireland’s bid to host the Americas Cup in 2024, the 3rd biggest sporting event in the world. This will be a uniquely valuable opportunity to showcase Ireland to a global audience and raise awareness of Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to live, visit, study, work and do business.
New Overseas Missions
On Ireland’s new overseas missions, the Minister pointed to the strategic importance of each:
- The Consulate General in Miami will establish an additional regional presence for Ireland in the fast-growing and heavily populated south-eastern United States.
- The Consulate General in Toronto will advance Ireland’s interests in the Greater Toronto Area, and send a strong signal of our commitment to the Canadian-Irish relationship.
- The Consulate General in Lyon will deliver a strong signal of our commitment to the Franco-Irish relationship in the new post-Brexit EU context.
- The new Embassy in Senegal will extend Ireland’s presence in Francophone Africa, considerably enhancing access for Irish goods and services where there is significant untapped potential.
Head of Mission
The confirmation of Heads of Mission in strategically important Embassies will provide important stability in the coming year:
- The Government has asked both the Ambassador to the United Kingdom Adrian O’Neill and Ambassador to the United Nations Geraldine Byrne-Nason to continue in these vital roles for one further year.
- Secretary General in the Department of Foreign Affairs Niall Burgess will take up a new role as Ambassador of Ireland to France. Ambassador Patricia O’Brien will be appointed Ambassador to Italy, replacing Ambassador Colm Ó Floinn. Deputy-Secretary General Brendan Rogers will also be appointed Irish Ambassador to the Netherlands, replacing Ambassador Kevin Kelly.
- Secretary General in the Department of the Taoiseach Martin Fraser will be appointed Irish Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2022. Geraldine Byrne-Nason will at this time also replace Dan Mulhall as the Ambassador of Ireland to the United States and vacate her role as Ambassador to the United Nations, which will be filled by Fergal Mythen, currently Director General of the Ireland, UK and Americas Division in DFA.
Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Katherine Zappone
Additionally, Katherine Zappone has been appointed as a Special Envoy on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. This appointment will provide enhanced capacity for engagement on Irish human rights priorities.
Ireland on the UN Security Council
The Minister provided an update on Ireland’s membership and active engagement on the UN Security Council since 1 January, highlighting particular achievements including; the renewal of the mandate for cross-border delivery of humanitarian aid into North West Syria; the facilitation of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) on the Council; and the leadership role that Ireland has played on the situation in Tigray, Ethiopia. Ireland has been active across the full range of country situations on the Council agenda, including the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen, Myanmar, Libya, Afghanistan and Colombia.
The Minister also informed the Government of Ireland’s efforts to improve peacekeeping mandates, advance the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and strengthen the understanding of the link between climate change and instability. Ireland will hold the month-long Presidency of the Security Council in September, and preparations are underway.
On our participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, the Minister said that our programme will be an important marker of Ireland’s international recovery and will:
- Highlight Irish innovation, support trade, investment, and tourism opportunities, and strengthen our international relations. A key focus of participation is to drive awareness of Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to live, visit, study, work and do business.
Turning to the America’s Cup, the Minister said that a successful bid and hosting of the America’s Cup would be a significant expression of, and activation platform for, the Government’s Global Ireland initiative. He added that the event would establish Ireland as a leader of the Blue Economy within the EU and inspire a new generation of technologists in third level education through the application of engineering and science to sport.
The Minister said a successful bid would “fast-track Project Ireland 2040 investment in Cork, in particular Cork Harbour’s ambition in becoming Ireland’s offshore renewable energy hub by supporting €5bn capital deployment in wind projects, creating 10,000 jobs over the next decade.”