Since its launch a year ago the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been working closely with the Department of the Taoiseach and a range of other Government partners to ensure the effective delivery of the ambitions set out in Global Ireland – Ireland’s global footprint to 2025.

These were the sentiments expressed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, during Dáil proceedings recently when he was asked by Fianna Fáil’s deputy Niall Collins about the status of Ireland’s plan to double its global footprint by 2025.

Minister Coveney went on to point out that he and the Taoiseach hosted a summit in Dublin Castle to mark the first anniversary of the launch of the plan.

He said the event provided an opportunity to “bring together key stakeholders from across Government and civil society to review progress to date” and to set priorities for the year ahead.

The year one detailed progress report was published concurrently with the summit and is available on:

The minister continued: “To date new embassies have opened in Wellington, Bogotá, Amman, Monrovia and Santiago de Chile, and new Consulates General in Vancouver, Mumbai and Cardiff.

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“This brings to 88 the number of diplomatic missions in the network. The expansion will continue this year to include new Consulates General in Los Angeles and Frankfurt. Embassies in Kiev, Manila and Rabat will follow shortly thereafter.”

On a mission

He went on to say that new missions were working to enhance Ireland’s international visibility; promote the country’s prosperity, build new community and political contacts; protect and advance Ireland’s interests and values; and deliver on the nation’s commitments under Ireland’s new policy for International Development ‘A Better World’.

We continue to make progress in increasing the number of officers in missions that currently have one or two officers.

Minister Coveney added: “We have sought to deepen our engagement with the multilateral system with the launch last July of Ireland’s campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

“Officials from my department – both at home and abroad – have been actively presenting Ireland’s case and seeking support among the other 192 UN Member States.

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“This has provided Ireland with an invaluable opportunity to build relationships and contacts across the world, which will stand to us long after the campaign has ended.”

‘Observer’ status

Meanwhile, last October, Ireland received ‘observer’ status at the Organisation of the Francophonie and the minister pointed to how this was “an important step” in increasing Ireland’s engagement with the French-speaking world.

More recently I launched a new strategy for the US and Canada and a white paper on international development policy.

Coveney continued: “Work is underway on strategies for Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Asia Pacific Region. And a series of consultations are also underway for a new diaspora policy.

“A critical component of the Global Ireland programme is identifying new opportunities to diversify our markets in a post-Brexit world.

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“€8 million was allocated in budget 2019 to support the expansion of Ireland’s enterprise development network internationally.

“This investment will allow for a more targeted expansion of our State Agencies in both emerging and established international markets.”