herald

Monday 11 December 2017

€2.2m spent on upgrades for our embassies

Irish embassy in Paris
Irish embassy in Paris
Ambassador of Ireland to the Holy See, Emma Madigan, presented her letters of credentials to Pope Francis in Rome
Irish embassy in Paris

More than €2m has been spent on refurbishment works at Irish embassy offices overseas, new figures reveal.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that substantial work has been carried out on eight separate offices since 2013, costing a combined total of €2.26m.

Two offices overseas - Beijing and Paris - had separate works carried out to improve their facilities during both years in question.

Refurbishment on Ireland's embassy in the French capital cost a combined total of almost €917,000 - more than any other spend recorded.

bill

And more than €624,000 was spent on works on the embassy office in Beijing, according to information released to Independent TD Tommy Broughan.

A bill of €171,000 was received for renovating the embassy in Brussels last year, while six-figure sums were also spent on works at offices in Washington and Moscow.

The monies were spent on "major refurbishments, including major installation and enhancement of security measures", the department said.

No works have taken place to date in 2015.

The Herald recently revealed that over €44m was spent on operating Ireland's diplomatic network overseas, which includes 61 embassies, seven multi-lateral missions and 12 consulates.

The newly reopened office in the Vatican, which was closed amid controversy, cost just under €15,000 to run - the cheapest of all.

The Coalition was strongly criticised after the closure of the embassy.

The decision to shut the office was seen in some quarters as a snub to the Catholic Church in the wake of a series of damning reports of the mishandling of clerical abuse.

But its reopening was regarded as a renewed effort by the Government to build relations with the Vatican.

Emma Madigan, a former senior official in the Department of Foreign Affairs, was appointed to the prestigious position of Holy See Ambassador.

noconnor@herald.ie

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