Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (101)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

101. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the opening of a new consulate in the north of England; if provision is made for same in forthcoming departmental funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53735/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

In “Global Ireland – Ireland’s Global Footprint to 2025”, the Government committed to opening an additional consulate in another UK location post-2019. During a visit to Manchester in June for the British Irish Council, the Taoiseach reiterated this commitment.

It is envisaged that the new consulate will cover the entire North of England, including major population centres such as Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield. This would broadly match the area known as the 'Northern Powerhouse', an area with a population of c. 15 million people.   

A decision on the timeline for opening the new consulate, as well as the optimum location, will be taken in the coming months.  

Additionally, it is worth noting that the Government has committed increased resources to our Embassy in London in the last few years, which was already the largest bilateral Embassy in our network. These resources have come from both from my own Department and from several other Government Departments and will ensure the Embassy's optimal engagement across all relevant policy areas. It is envisaged that the Embassy will continue to expand in order to support the bilateral relationship and to promote and protect Irish interests across all relevant sectors in a post-Brexit context. 

Ireland also engages closely with the devolved administrations. In Scotland, the Consulate in Edinburgh is active in promoting and protecting Irish interests, including taking a leading role on the current bilateral review of Ireland-Scotland relations. In addition, our footprint has also been re-established in Wales where the Consulate in Cardiff re-opened in April of this year, with a political and economic focus.