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Diplomatic Representation.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 28 May 2009

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Ceisteanna (37, 38)

Pat Rabbitte

Ceist:

25 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on the re-establishment of an Irish embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. [21817/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

33 Deputy Bernard Allen asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position in relation to establishing an embassy in Nairobi, Kenya; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21790/09]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 25 and 33 together.

Ireland has a relatively small Diplomatic Service, operating on limited resources. While the opening of resident diplomatic missions abroad, including in Kenya, is considered by the Government on an ongoing basis, any expansion of our diplomatic network can, as I am sure the Deputy will appreciate, only be undertaken having regard to clear priorities and available resources. In sub-Saharan Africa, most of our Missions are located in countries where we operate a priority bilateral aid programme.

Ireland has enjoyed full diplomatic relations with Kenya since 1974. While a resident Irish Embassy was established in Nairobi in 1977, it was with great regret that we found ourselves having to close our Embassy in Kenya in 1988 due to severe budgetary constraints at the time.

The current position is that the Ambassador of Ireland in Tanzania, Ms. Anne Barrington, is also accredited to Kenya on a non-resident basis and there are no plans at present to change this arrangement. Ireland's Honorary Consul in Nairobi, Mr Joseph O'Brien, continues to provide an excellent service to our citizens who live in or visit Kenya.

The lack of resident diplomatic Mission does not diminish the importance we attach to our relations with Kenya. An example of the close engagement Ireland has in support of peace and stability in Kenya was seen following the disputed December 2007 elections and the ensuing violence. Ireland provided significant financial support for the successful efforts of former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to broker a peace deal. On foot of this agreement, a Government of National Unity was formed, and the then-Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D., visited Kenya in April 2008 to demonstrate Ireland's support for the peace agreement and to encourage its full implementation.

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