Ireland opens new diplomatic missions as development aid budget is boosted to €707m
2017-10-15 08:03:53 -

Ireland will open new resident diplomatic missions in Chile, Colombia, Jordan, Vancouver in Canada and Mumbai in India as part of the Government’s overall Budget 2018 package. 


Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has also announced additional funding towards preparing for Brexit, following recent steps to increase staff numbers at the department and in major European capitals like Brussels, Berlin, Paris and London.


Speaking from Leinster House after the Budget announcement on Tuesday 10 October, Minister Coveney said the new embassies and consulates “are important first steps in expanding our global footprint and diversifying our trade portfolio as we prepare for Brexit.”


New embassies in Santiago, Chile and Bototá, Colombia will assist in promoting trade and investment with both countries, according to the minister. 


The embassy planned for Amman in Jordan “will allow us to build on our political partnership with Jordan, work closely with our Defence Forces in the region and facilitate oversight of our humanitarian assistance,” said the minister.


The new consulate for western Canada in Vancouver “reflects the strength of the Ireland-Canada relationship, the growing economic importance of that region and also the fact that there is a large Irish community now living there,” said Minister Coveney, while the consulate in India’s commercial capital Mumbai “will significantly strengthen our presence in another of Ireland’s key strategic partners.” 

The Government has also provided the funding for a new state-of-the-art Ireland House in Tokyo to capitalise on a growing market for food exports with Ireland’s largest trading partner in Asia, as well as build upon the new EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.


On measures to address the impact of Brexit, the minister said the Budget shores up measures to ensure the EU embassy network “is closely co-ordinated around this absolute priority issue for Ireland”.


Meanwhile, official development assistance, or ODA, has also been allocated just over €707m for 2018 – a rise of €26m that marks a third consecutive annual increase. 


In addition, Irish Aid funding will increase by €13.5m on last year, bringing the aid budget to over €500m for the first time since 2012.


“The Government is strongly committed to Ireland’s overseas aid programme and to its place at the heart of our foreign policy,” said Minister Coveney. “In 2015 we allocated just over €600m and the 2018 amount represents an increase of over €100m or almost 18 per cent in the past three years.


“By any standard, this represents a clear and concrete demonstration of the Government’s support and commitment to Ireland’s aid programme.”


Ciarán Cannon, Minister for State for the Diaspora and International Development, said the new aid resources will be used “to continue the fight against poverty and hunger, to build on our work delivering sustainable improvements in living standards for some of the world’s poorest people, and in increasing our response to the unprecedented level of humanitarian needs worldwide, especially in Africa and the Middle East.”

TAGS : Irish Aid Budget 2018 Department of Foreign Affairs
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