Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (103)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

103. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will consider expanding the diplomatic footprint further in 2020 by increasing the number of embassies globally; if Georgia will be considered as a location for such a new embassy in view of its strategic importance in the region, its strong values and support towards the EU and its geographical location as the gateway between the EU and Asia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52915/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Ireland’s diplomatic footprint is guided by Global Ireland 2025 which aims to double the scope and impact of our global footprint. 

Since the launch of Global Ireland last year my Department has been working closely with the Department of the Taoiseach and a range of other Government partners to ensure effective delivery.

On July 8th, the Taoiseach and I hosted a summit in Dublin Castle to mark one year since the launch of the plan bringing together key stake holders from across Government and civil society to review progress to date and to set priorities for the year ahead. A detailed Progress Report was published concurrently with the summit and is available on www.gov.ie.

New Embassies have opened in Wellington, Bogotá, Amman, Monrovia and Santiago de Chile, and new Consulates General in Vancouver, Mumbai, Cardiff, Frankfurt and Los Angeles. The expansion will continue in the year ahead with Embassies in Kyiv, Manila and Rabat.

Our new Missions are working to enhance Ireland’s international visibility; promote our prosperity, build new community and political contacts; protect and advance Ireland’s interests and values; and deliver on our commitments under Ireland’s new policy for International Development ‘A Better World’. A critical component of the Global Ireland programme is identifying new opportunities to diversify our markets in a post-Brexit world.

Ireland enjoys excellent relations with Georgia and at present, our bilateral relationship with Georgia is fostered through our Embassy in Sofia. The Global Ireland strategy outlines the expansion of our diplomatic network up to 2025, and while Georgia is not currently one of the countries earmarked for the opening of an Irish Embassy, the possibility for new Embassies is considered on an ongoing basis.

Ireland is supportive of Georgia’s EU aspirations and together with the EU we continue to reaffirm our unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, as and when the opportunity presents itself across all local, EU and international fora. Central to this support is the Eastern Partnership initiative, which provides a framework for cooperation between the EU and six countries in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood, including Georgia. Ireland is a strong supporter of the Eastern Partnership that aims to promote peace and stability in the region and to enhance economic and political integration between the participating countries and the EU.