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Embassy expenditure down almost €1.6m last year

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore also said the decision to close the Vatican embassy will not be reversed in the immediate term.

File photo
File photo
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

FIGURES RELEASED BY the Department of Foreign Affairs show the government made savings of almost €1.6 million last year on embassy expenditure.

The department spent under €56 million on 56 embassies, seven multilateral missions and ten consulates and other offices overseas last year, compared to some €57 million in 2010.

The most expensive mission is the permanent representation to the EU in Brussels which cost the exchequer over €3 million in 2011.

While expenditure in around two thirds of the countries was reduced, spending on the consulate in Atlanta went up by almost €100,000 last year, though it was still the cheapest mission, and spending in New York rose by over €180,000.

The biggest expenditure increase was in Tokyo with a rise of €703,210 between 2010 and 2011 on missions in the Japanese capitol.

The Vatican embassy, which closed recently, was the 49th most expensive overseas mission, costing just over €413,000 last year.

Responding to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Terence Flanagan, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign affairs said the decision to close the resident Embassy to the Holy See will not be reversed in the immediate term.

“Any discussions with the Holy See on arrangements whereby it might be possible to re-establish a resident Embassy at a future date are best conducted in confidence and I do not intend to comment further on the matter,” he said.

“Our Ambassador to the Holy See has maintained ongoing diplomatic contact with the Holy See and visits the Vatican regularly. He has had meetings there within the past week.”

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