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Diplomacy isn’t free: what Ireland’s 75 embassies cost us last year

Oireachtas figures reveal the overall cost of operating Ireland’s embassies and consulates overseas.

IRELAND SPENT ALMOST €57 million euro on administrative costs for its global network of embassies last year, according to figures released by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

The spending costs, outlined in response to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin’s Peadar Toibín, identify Ireland’s European Union mission in Brussels as the most expensive posting, costing almost €4.2m last year.

The Irish diplomatic network also includes seven multilateral missions and 11 Consulates General in addition to the 58 embassies it operates around the world. The network also includes offices in Armagh and Belfast.

Gilmore added that the embassies and consulates also funded other diplomatic programmes, such as the African aid programmes administered through the embassy in Mozambique.

After the EU operations in Brussels, the next most expensive embassies were in London, the UN operation in New York, the New York consulate, Paris, Tokyo, Washington and Rome.

Each office cost an average of €740,000 to operate for the year, with the embassy in Dili, East Timor costing the least at €148,716 for the year. The embassy in the Holy See, which is currently without an ambassador and is actually based outside of Vatican City, cost €455,820.

Diplomatic protocol requires countries to maintain separate embassies to the Holy See and to Italy; the latter embassy, which is situated just 2km away from its embassy to the Holy See, cost €1.18m to run last year.

Ireland’s embassy to Belgium, which operates separately to the EU operation, cost €457,000.

The costs do not include the salaries paid to ambassadors or to other staff posted in those embassies, as those funds are paid directly from the Department of Foreign Affairs budget and not by the embassies.

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