Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Questions (733)

Finian McGrath

Question:

733. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans to open a new Irish embassy in New Zealand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1501/16]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

At present, Ireland’s diplomatic network includes 61 Embassies, 7 multilateral missions, 11 Consulates General and one Representative office. The scale and presence of the network is considered by the Government on an ongoing basis.

Any decision to adjust the State’s external representation, including the opening of missions, will have regard to national priorities and available financial and staffing resources. 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. However, current resource constraints do not allow us to have resident representation in all the locations that might objectively justify it having regard to political, economic and trade factors.

The Embassy of Ireland in Canberra is accredited on a non-residential basis to New Zealand. Ireland is also represented in New Zealand by an Honorary Consul General. There are no immediate plans under consideration for the opening of a resident diplomatic mission in New Zealand.

I have had several opportunities to discuss bilateral matters including with Prime Minister Key en marge of international engagements in New York and Turkey in 2015, Foreign Minister McCully, and with a New Zealand Parliamentary delegation which visited Ireland also in 2015.