Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ceisteanna (32)

Derek Keating

Ceist:

26 Deputy Derek Keating asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in keeping with a complete review of all Government Departments and perhaps adopting the practices by other democracies, if he will consider reviewing the system of appointing Ambassadors from the ranks of the civil service and examine the possibility of appointing businessmen, businesswomen, academics and civic leaders who are well skilled in the area of diplomacy and representing Ireland’s mission abroad and taking into consideration the Department of Trade to be assigned to him, his views on whether this is beneficial based on our new drive to bring inward investment and developing new markets for our exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17169/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Foreign)

In my view the State has been very well served by the current system governing Ambassadorial appointments, which draws on the skills and professionalism of experienced, dedicated and impartial career civil servants. The maintenance of a non-politicised civil service is a principal of our system of government to which I attach considerable importance.

Ireland's diplomatic service is highly respected at home and internationally. Successive Governments have acknowledged its positive contribution, such as in advancing the peace process in Northern Ireland, in establishing and enhancing our bilateral relationships, in representing and protecting our interests in multilateral fora including the European Union and the United Nations, in promoting Irish business and economic interests and in managing the State's bilateral aid programme and in providing consular services to Irish citizens in difficulties abroad. Senior officers about to take up posts abroad attend special business-focussed training programmes and Embassy staff work hand-in-glove with local Irish State agency representatives in furthering Ireland's economic interests. I frequently receive expressions of appreciation for their efforts.

Question No. 27 answered with Question No. 14.