Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (132)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

132. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his plans and projected costings and-or budgets for the purchase of lands and-or buildings for projects similar to Ireland House in Tokyo for the next two, five and ten years, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29272/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The development of a site in central Tokyo, Japan, to establish a new Ireland House is advancing. This is the first time that the State has invested in a brownfield urban site overseas to facilitate the design and build-out of an Ireland House. This multi-year project includes the construction of a bespoke, modern building comprising an official residence and office accommodation for the Embassy of Ireland and state agencies, including Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland in Tokyo. It will house a large promotion space where the Embassy and the agencies and their client companies will showcase products and services, host business and community events and promote the vibrancy of our arts and culture.  Japan is a key bilateral political and economic partner for Ireland with exports of Irish goods in 2018 alone valued at over €4 billion.  These links are expected to deepen further in the years ahead. The vision for a new Ireland House Tokyo was secured following the purchase of the urban site from the Government of Japan at a significant discount.

My Department currently does not have active plans, projected costings and/or budgets for the purchase of lands or buildings for projects similar in scale or ambition to Ireland House in Tokyo over the timeframe outlined.  Where the establishment of a number of Ireland Houses are under consideration as part of 'Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025’ as new Embassies and Consulates open in the coming years, there are no plans currently to purchase additional land or buildings.

All options in managing the state property portfolio in countries where Ireland has diplomatic representation are continually reviewed to ensure value for money. Where possible and appropriate, the Department examines the scope for purchase with a view to converting rental payments into long-term assets for the state.  My Department follows guidance and seeks approval from Department of Public Expenditure and Reform on the acquisition and disposal of assets in such cases.