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Archive for Ireland

Newsline: Dublin residents fail to stop plans for Indian embassy

Residents from Merrion Road in Dublin 4 have failed in their attempts to block the Indian government from establishing a new embassy on the road. An Bord Pleanála has dismissed the appeal by the Merrion Road Residents’ Association against Dublin City Council granting planning permission to the Office of the Ambassador of India to change the use of 69 Merrion Road an embassy and extend the property. In approving the move, the board rejected the recommendation of its own inspector to refuse planning permission. Inspector Derek Daly said that if the application was permitted, the area will become overwhelmingly non-residential in relation to use. However, the board ruled in deciding not to accept the inspector’s recommendation, it found that the intensity of use would be acceptable at this location. The current Indian embassy is located at Leeson Park in D4. Ambassador, Smt. Radhika Lol Lokesh is to remain at the Indian ambassador’s residence in Foxrock. However, the application for the new embassy provoked a wave of opposition from residents’ associations representing some of the most prestigious addresses in the country.



Newsline: Irish embassies cost €43 million to run last year

Brussels, London , Tokyo, New York and Paris top the list of Ireland’s most expensive embassies in 2013. In total, Ireland spent €43 million on embassies, with a further €7 million spent on missions in Africa and Vietnam. The two Irish missions in Brussels are the most expensive, with the Permanent Representative to the EU costing €3.4 million and the embassy there costing €600,000. In New York, the Permanent Mission to the EU and the Consulate General cost around €3.5 million combined. London costs €2.7 million and Paris €1.6 million. A drop of €400,000 in expenditure sees Tokyo costing €1.5 million.


Newsline: Israeli embassy in Ireland condemned over ‘European terror’ propaganda tweets

Israeli diplomats in Dublin have drawn criticism after staff used their official Twitter feed to publish a series of doctored images which included a hijab-clad Mona Lisa cradling an enormous rocket. The pictures – which appeared to have been posted today but were later removed – featured images relating to different European countries and bearing the slogan: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world”. One of the images showed Michelangelo’s statue of David wearing an Arab headscarf and with an explosive belt wrapped round its torso. Accompanying the slogan were the words “Israel now Italy next”. Another, addressed to Ireland, showed Dublin’s famous Molly Malone statue covered by a full-length black niqab, while a fourth featured what appears to be an armed militant perched on a seaside rock and bearing the words: “Israel now Denmark next”. The pictures drew instant criticism from some Twitter users. “Time the Irish authorities call ambassador in to reject such hatred,” said one.


Newsline: Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See appointed

Ireland’s new ambassador to the Holy See is Emma Madigan, who had been an assistant chief of protocol at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her nomination was approved by the cabinet at its meeting today. She succeeds Noel Fahey who retired from the position in summer 2011. On November 3rd 2011 Tánaiste and Minster for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore announced “with the greatest regret and reluctance” that the Government had decided to close Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See. “While the Embassy to the Holy See is one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yields no economic return,” he said, adding, “the Government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident Ambassador.” Since then Ireland has been represented at the Vatican on a caretaker basis by secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs David Cooney. Last January Mr Gilmore announced that the Embassy to the Holy See was to reopen as part of an expansion of Ireland’s diplomatic network which will also see embassies opening in Thailand, Indonesia, Croatia, and Kenya. The new embassy will not be housed at its old site of the State-owned Villa Spada which, in the meantime, has become the Irish Embassy to the Italian state. It was stated that this was not because of any Vatican veto on a dual purpose embassy but rather because there is no space available at Villa Spada. Foreign Affairs has also said the new Embassy will be a “modest”, one-person operation, in keeping with the desire of Pope Francis of “a poor church for the poor,” and will re-open this summer.


Newsline: Irish civil servant to take up EU ambassador role in Washington

One of Ireland’s most senior EU civil servants is to be formally announced later today as the European Union’s new ambassador to Washington. David O’Sullivan, who is currently the chief operating officer of the EU’s foreign service arm, the External Action Service, will take up the post shortly. He takes over from Portuguese official Joao Vale de Almeida at a time of heightened transatlantic diplomatic activity over Ukraine and over the EU-US trade negotiations. Mr O’Sullivan has previously been director general of the European Commission’s trade division and the top civil servant at the commission. The 61-year-old graduate of Trinity College was first seconded to Brussels from the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1979.


Newsline: Not all Ireland’s diplomats rolling in style

From second-hand Skodas to luxury Land Cruisers, the mix ‘n’ match motors for our diplomats around the globe reveals not all of our ambassadors are rolling in style. In fact, the most exotic car used by any of Ireland’s ambassadors abroad is a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX, which set back the Department of Foreign affairs a total of €47,820, new documents obtained by the Sunday Independent under the Freedom of Information Act reveal. The Land Cruiser is at the disposal of our ambassador to Tanzania, Fionnuala Gilsenan, who is based in the capital, Dar es Salaam. Ms Gilsenan has one of the widest briefs of any of our diplomatic staff, and is also accredited to Kenya, Burundi, Eritrea and parts of east Africa. The next most expensive car on the list is the BMW 520, valued at €34,560, for one of our most important embassies in Asia, the South Korean capital, Seoul. Another luxury model near the top of the price list is the BMW 730, which is allocated to our embassy in Paris – regarded by the diplomatic service as the most style-conscious capital in the world. The BMW cost just €30,700, but was purchased “second hand”. The department said the individual cost of cars attached to our diplomatic service has been reduced in some cases because they were bought as part of a trade-in deal. Another second-hand purchase is the Chevrolet Tahoe, which came with a price tag of €20,352 for our embassy in the Saudi Arabian capital, Riyadh. Meanwhile, a South Korean car, the Hyundai Sonata, which was got for €22,497, is the vehicle attached to Beijing, capital of the People’s Republic of China. In Washington – the power centre of the US – the car of choice is a Mercedes that has been valued at a modest €22,462. In Vienna and Strasbourg, a German model is the vehicle of choice in both countries; a Volkswagon Passat with a price tag of €24,990 and an Audi A5 valued at €24,995. In the Dutch capital, The Hague, our diplomat drives a €24,867 Lancia Thea, while the Consulate General in New York drives a modest Volkswagon Passat costing just €14,996.


Newsline: Passport probe in Ireland as 11 stolen on way to US Embassy

A probe has been launched after 11 passports were stolen after being sent to the US Embassy for visas. The US Embassy confirmed that 11 passports were taken during a visa application process, in an incident believed to have occurred on February 28. It is understood that they were in the care of a courier delivery service when they were taken. The Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed that they were “aware” that a number of passports had been taken. “We did have an incident. We had 11 passports which were taken,” a US embassy spokesperson confirmed yesterday. When applying for a visa to enter the US, the necessary documentation is placed in the applicant’s passport after a lengthy application process. The embassy confirmed it had cancelled all of the visas issued.