To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of additional staff that have been deployed to embassies and consulates since 23 June 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
- Darragh O'Brien.
For ORAL answer on Tuesday, 30th May, 2017.
Ref No: 25615/17 Lottery: 12 Proof: 53
Additional capabilities and resources have been assigned across my Department to address issues arising from the complex process of the UK exit from the EU. In general terms, all of our diplomatic Missions across the EU are working extensively on the UK exit issue as are a number of embassies further afield.
At Headquarters the key Divisions of European Union Division and the Ireland, UK and Americas (IUKA) Division, both headed at Second Secretary General level, have been assigned additional resources. The European Union Division contains a dedicated team focused exclusively on the EU-UK negotiations, led by a senior officer at Counsellor level. Within the IUKA Division, there is a Brexit-specific policy co-ordination function now in place and there are teams focused on Northern Ireland and on wider British-Irish Relations; their duties include Brexit related issues.
Many business units of the Department at its headquarters in Dublin are involved as part of the strategic response to the UK exit and staff numbers have been augmented, for example in the Legal Division, the Trade Division and the Policy Planning Unit. There is also an intra-Departmental senior management group focusing on issues relating to the UK exit, chaired by the Secretary General and comprising senior officials from across all relevant business units of the Department.
A number of officers are seconded to the Department of the Taoiseach and working on EU matters, while two officers are seconded to the International and EU Relations Division of the Department of Finance.
In relation to citizen services there has been a marked increase in demand for passports and citizenship via foreign birth registration from applicants in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. In response to this and a significantly increased seasonal demand, we have recruited over 300 temporary and fulltime clerical officers to meet demands for our Passport and Consular Services and these additional resources have been assigned to our Dublin, Cork and London operations.
Overseas, specific additional senior diplomatic posts have been assigned to our Embassies in London, Berlin and Paris as well as the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels. The Permanent Representation in Brussels has a unit dedicated to managing our response to this issue comprising a Counsellor, First Secretary and Third Secretary.
Berlin and Paris each have had senior diplomats assigned to the embassy teams with a specific Brexit remit. London has augmented both its diplomatic staff and its administrative teams.
These measures, which comprise the initial phase of our response to the UK decision to leave the EU, remain under review as the Government carries out its work in response to the UK referendum decision and as preparations for the forthcoming negotiations on the UK’s exit from the EU intensify.