I say “overseas”, but in 2012 we managed to spend €648,614 on a so-called “secretariat” in Belfast and €537,962 in the exotic city of ….Armagh! This week, the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs provided details of the €52m cost of running our diplomatic missions across the globe in 2011 and 2012. The results are intriguing, with us spending more in each of Mozambique, Zambia and Uganda than we did in Germany. We spent more in Vietnam than we did in India. And we spent more in Lesotho – small landlocked impoverished mountainous expanse in southern Africa – than we did in Brazil or Mexico. We spent more in Iran than we did in Latvia. We spent more in Sierra Leone than we did in Cyprus. And 2012 saw the final costs coming in for Vatican City, with that mission controversially closed.
There are a few countries in which we don’t have representation which look like odd omissions – New Zealand, Venezuela, Chile, Jordan, Bahrain, Peru, Colombia, Libya, Pakistan, former Yugoslavian states except for Slovenia, Caribbean countries generally, former USSR countries except for Russia, central America except for Mexico and all of the smaller Pacific islands.
It should be stressed that the figures EXCLUDE two major expense headings, the cost of diplomats sent from Ireland and the capital cost of buildings and we know that there have been some rebuilding works that have attracted criticism in the past. Hopefully these omissions will be rectified in the near future so that we can get a total picture of how we spend our money on diplomatic missions.
You can see the PQ which revealed the informationhere where there is a split by city and expense heading.
UPDATE: 7th May, 2013. An Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has now confirmed the salaries and allowances paid to Irish staff in 2011 and 2012 together with the capital expenditure on diplomatic Missions. In 2012, €20,367,563 was paid in salaries and €8,709,948 in allowances and €878,604 in capital expenditure.