Ireland’s embassy in London cost more than €6m (just over £4.5m) to run last year – the most expensive of all Ireland’s diplomatic outposts
Its embassy to the Vatican — which has only Emma Madigan, the ambassador, on its staff — had the lowest running cost of all missions last year at just under €287,000 (£218,000). Overall, the cost of running Ireland’s embassies and consulates rose by 10.5 per cent last year to €74.6 million.
The London Embassy, the biggest by far of all the embassies and which often has the most sensitive relationships to manage, is more akin to a major Irish government department or ministry.
It is followed by Paris which cost €3m (£2.28m) for a much smaller workload (and where the Irish government owned embassy building on Avenue Foch is worth €45m) and and New York, €2.8m (£2.13m).
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s own figures show that the operation of 73 foreign missions last year cost €7 million more than in 2014.
Spending at the consulate in San Francisco increased by 52 per cent to almost €976,000 but this coincided with it helping the families of students who were injured or died in the Berkeley balcony collapse.
Since Fine Gael and Labour came into power after the last Irish General Election in 2011 the cost of Ireland’s diplomatic services has risen from a €55.9m to an estimated €75m.
The three embassies that recorded the biggest reduction in costs were in Beijing (down 35 per cent to €1.4 million), Kuala Lumpur (down 27 per cent to €478,000) and Moscow (down 25 per cent to €965,000).
Details were supplied in a written parliamentary answer to independent Dail TD Finian McGrath by Ireland’s Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan.
Mr. Flanagan also announced the appointments of several new Ambassadors last week including two – the new Ambassador to Belgium, Helena Nolan and the new Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand, Breandan O Caoillai – who started their overseas diplomatic careers at the London Embassy working with the Irish community in Britain.