Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (263)

Neale Richmond

Question:

263. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will provide a report on the activity of the Consulate General of Ireland in Frankfurt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2517/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The Consulate General opened in October 2019 as an important part of our efforts to strengthen Ireland’s presence in Germany. The opening of the Consulate General is a clear sign of Ireland’s commitment to deepening its relationship with Germany.

The Consulate currently operates in a temporary location. Work is ongoing to identify a long-term property option that will function as an Ireland House. The Consulate hopes to move into its permanent Ireland House location by the end of 2021 which would serve as the major platform for the Irish community, business and cultural activities in the region.

The Consulate’s priority objectives include:

- Establishing strong relationships with the Government, Parliament and Ministries in Hessen, the Rhineland Palatinate and Saarland as well as with the European Central Bank and Single Supervisory Mechanism in Frankfurt.

- Promoting Ireland’s economic reputation and build business links in the region.

- Undertaking an intensive public diplomacy programme, with a media and cultural promotion focus, to develop Ireland’s profile and image.

The Consulate General works closely with the Embassy of Ireland in Berlin, under the overall direction of the Ambassador, including on the implementation of the Germany-Ireland Joint Plan of Action for Enhanced Bilateral and EU Co-operation.

The Consulate is playing an important role in developing the strong partnership between Ireland and Germany. It has built relationships at senior levels with the State Governments and their economic agencies to promote Irish interests.

It also works closely with the Irish State Agencies based in Frankfurt (IDA and Tourism Ireland) and Düsseldorf (Enterprise Ireland and Bord Bia) to promote Irish economic and business interests. The Consulate General is actively involved in working with Irish companies in deepening links with the region.

The Consulate also provides consular assistance on an on-going basis, often on Covid-19 related-issues, particularly in view of Frankfurt’s status as a major hub airport. The 2,000-strong Irish community living in the region have benefited from the shorter distance when accessing consular services and in participating in the many outreach activities organised by the Consulate. The Consulate is also extensively involved in the promotion of Irish culture, including through supporting Ireland’s presence at the annual Frankfurt Book Fair and organising regular cultural activities such as book clubs and performances of Irish music and dance.