Dáil debates

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Other Questions

Diplomatic Representation

3:00 pm

Photo of Timmy DooleyTimmy Dooley (Clare, Fianna Fail)
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Question 69: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount of money he estimates it will cost to have a Dublin based diplomatic representation to the Holy See; the regularity with which it is anticipated that he will be physically present in the Vatican state; if any additional support staff have been attributed to the new diplomatic representative; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9555/12]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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While the details have not been finalised it is estimated the annual cost of a Dublin based diplomatic representation to the Holy See will be under €25,000. This includes the cost of maintaining a small office in the Villa Spada compound, staffed on a part-time basis by a locally recruited secretary. It is intended, in principle, that the ambassador to the Holy See would travel to Rome once a month. No additional support staff have been allocated to him, although the third secretary of the embassy, formerly resident in Rome and now resident in Dublin, will continue to be accredited. No additional payment will be made to the Secretary General of the Department for carrying out his functions as ambassador to the Holy See.

Photo of Seán Ó FearghaílSeán Ó Fearghaíl (Kildare South, Fianna Fail)
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What is the situation relating to the residence of the former ambassador to Italy? Did the State hold a lease on the premises he had occupied and did the State have to buy its way out of that lease? Was there any capital investment in that property over the last decade or so? Where are the chancery offices of the Irish Embassy to Italy? Have these offices moved to the Villa Spada or does the office of the Irish Embassy remain at its former location?

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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As the Villa Spada is State-owned, there were no rental costs associated with the operational costs of the mission. This meant the running costs of that mission were low compared with those of other missions abroad. The plan is that both the chancery and the residence will be closed down and that the residence of the ambassador to Italy and the office of the embassy will be located in the Villa Spada. There are rental arrangements in respect of both and those arrangements are being terminated.