Shake-up sees new Irish ambassadors for UK, US and China

Several representatives will move to other areas

Shake-up sees new Irish ambassadors for UK, US and China

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin | Image:

New Irish ambassadors are to be appointed to a number of countries and organisations on the recommendation of Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan.

The Government has approved a number of nominations, subject to agreement by the receiving states.

The shake-up will see several representatives move to other areas of the world.

Among those announced include Adrian O'Neill as ambassador to the United Kingdom, replacing Dan Mulhall.

Mr Mulhall is to be appointed Ireland's new ambassador to the United States of America.

Geraldine Byrne Nason - current Irish ambassador to France - will become Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations in New York.

Current Spanish ambassador David Cooney will move to Italy, while Irish ambassador to China Paul Kavanagh is to move to the United Arab Emirates.

While Eoin O'Leary becomes Irish ambassador to China. Síle Maguire is to become the next Irish ambassador to Spain.

And current Chargé d’Affaires at the embassy of Ireland in Vienna, Kevin Dowling, is to be made Ireland's Permanent Representative to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

A number of those being replaced are either due to retire, or are being reassigned to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.

"Ireland's strategic interests"

Announcing the nominations, Minister Flanagan said: "At this time of significant challenge, Ireland is fortunate to have a very experienced team of diplomats ready to represent and advance our strategic interests around the world.

"The nominations approved by Cabinet today include heads of mission in a number of key locations, including the UK and a number of EU capitals, the USA, as well as key partner countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

"The heads of mission nominated today will play very important roles in advancing Ireland's strategic interests in respect of the Brexit negotiations ahead, the drive to deepen penetration of EU markets, the advancement of our critical partnership with the USA, the strengthening of trade relations in the Gulf and in the Asia-Pacific regions.

"As a small country, multilateralism is a key element of our foreign policy and today, new ambassadors have also been nominated to the United Nations in Geneva and New York and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

"Some of the changes will involve the return of experienced diplomats to my department's headquarters in Dublin and their input to the formulation of Ireland’s foreign policy across the whole range of issues will be of immense value."

It comes as the US embassy in Dublin announced Reece Smyth as acting ambassador to Ireland.