Written Answers. - Diplomatic Representation.

Eamon Gilmore

Question:

31 Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs in regard to the commitment given in An Agreed Programme for Government, the specific proposals the Government has for the expansion of resident diplomatic missions, in particular with EU applicant countries and also in Asia and Latin America; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14819/02]

In 2001, the Government decided to open new embassies in a number of the EU candidate countries on a phased basis prior to the commencement of Ireland's next Presidency of the European Union in January 2004. It also decided to establish an embassy in Brasilia and a consulate general in Sao Paulo and to strengthen the staff resources of the Embassy in Buenos Aires. Since then, new embassies have been established in Estonia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Cyprus and Brasilia. In accordance with the Government decisions and with An Agreed Programme for Government, consideration will now be given to the timing of the establishment of further missions.

Following the adoption by the Government of a Strategy for the Long-Term Development of Foreign Earnings in Asia, published in 1999, a new embassy was established in Singapore and new consulates-general in Sydney and Shanghai. The staff resources of the embassies in Beijing and Tokyo were also augmented. This increased representation provides a platform for a vigorous new approach to the development of Ireland's foreign earnings in the Asia-Pacific region. Representation in Asia, as well as in Latin America, will be kept under active review.