My Department is responsible for the sourcing, management and maintenance of properties to carry out its functions overseas and well as working with the OPW on buildings in Ireland. The Department manages a total of ninety overseas missions, plus offices in Armagh and Belfast.
The Global Ireland strategy sets out the Government commitment to double the scope and impact of Ireland's footprint internationally. The strategy sets out an ambition to open at least twenty six new diplomatic missions by 2025 and to further strenghten the existing mission network. Nine new missions were opened in the past fifteen months. A Consulate in Frankfurt is now operational and will be formally opened shortly. Next year, new Embassies are planned in Kyiv, Manila and Rabat.
To support the management of properties as well as an expanding overseas network and new projects, it is important for the Department to have sufficient technical capacity in place, including qualified Architects. Two Architects are currently employed on a secondment basis at Assistant Principal level and pay scale. In addition, my Department has one full-time permanent Architect position at Assistant Principal level which is currently vacant. It is the intention to fill this position in the near future.