News that Irish embassies abroad are worth a small fortune is not surprising. Many of the country’s ‘Missions Abroad’ have been long established in the most prestigious of foreign addresses and, with rising international property prices, they have become an enviable asset. On Avenue Foch, near the Arc de Triomphe, the Irish Embassy in Paris, housed in the gilded plasterwork of a ‘hotel particulier’, is worth an estimated €45m – making it the most valuable diplomatic property abroad owned by the State. According to new figures, the sum total value of such embassies is nearly €90m. The Department of Foreign Affairs has 12 properties abroad which it uses as diplomatic missions, while renting in others, including high rents in cities like New York and Brussels. It is thus worth buying and holding on to such properties: in the 1980s, with Government cutbacks, the State foolishly undersold buildings in countries where they later had to reopen embassies. The total cost of Ireland’s diplomatic service is about €100m a year, with 340 officials serving abroad and a further 300 staff recruited locally.
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Newsline: Ireland’s embassies worth fortune