DFA Overview

The Organisation of the Department

 

The Department has its Headquarters in Iveagh House, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin. The Development Co-operation Directorate is based in Limerick and Dublin, while certain other Divisions of the Department are based in other locations in central Dublin. Our Passport Offices are located in Dublin, Balbriggan and Cork.

The Department consists of Divisions and Units at Headquarters (HQ) and a total of 73 diplomatic and consular offices abroad, referred to as "missions", as well as the British Irish Inter-Governmental Secretariat in Belfast and the North-South Ministerial Council Joint Secretariat in Armagh.  The network of missions is uniquely placed to perform, on behalf of the Irish Government and people, a diverse range of representational, promotional and assistance functions and these offices are an integral and essential tool for the delivery of the Department’s high level goals.  In addition to these missions, there are 92 Honorary Consuls who provide assistance to Irish citizens. 

Under the political direction of the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department is managed by the Secretary General, who is also the Accounting Officer.  The Secretary General is supported by a Management Advisory Committee (MAC) comprising the HQ-based Assistant Secretaries of the Department.  Effective cross-functional co-ordination is critical to achieving objectives particularly in a Department with offices in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Belfast, Armagh and with 73 offices abroad.  Co-ordination takes place on an ongoing basis through structures such as the MAC, the Irish Aid High Level Steering Group, the Africa Committee, the Risk Management Committee and the Audit Committee.  Co-ordination on specific projects takes place through the establishment of dedicated structures such as the Taskforce on the 2012 Chairmanship of the OSCE and the Internal Planning Group for the 2013 Presidency, which operate in close co-operation with relevant structures for inter-departmental co-ordination. 

The Department is organised as follows:

Trade and Promotion Division is responsible, inter alia, for trade promotion strategy and co-ordination, the Export Trade Council and its oversight of the Trade Strategy to 2015, economic messaging, cultural relations (including grant allocation) and information.  It liaises with the State Agencies, other Government Departments and the private sector in relation to all aspects of trade promotion and economic messaging.  

Development Co-operation Division manages the Government’s overseas aid programme, Irish Aid.  Overseas Development is an integral element of Ireland’s foreign policy.  The Division oversees Irish development cooperation relations with bi-lateral, multi-lateral and civil society partners in addition to Irish based organisations and institutions.  An Africa Unit has lead responsibility for political relations with Africa and for the implementation of the Department’s Africa Strategy.

Political Division manages the political aspects of foreign policy.   It leads on human rights, disarmament and non-proliferation, international security policy, drugs and terrorism, UN issues, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, and is also responsible for CFSP coordination. 

Europe Division has responsibility for all aspects of bilateral relations with EU countries and other European countries.  It leads on Ireland’s contribution to EU enlargement, neighbourhood and external relations policies.  It maintains close contact on all key EU matters with the EU Division in the Department of the Taoiseach and, with many Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff temporarily seconded there, has a special relationship with that Department.  The Division has management responsibility for Ireland’s diplomatic offices in Europe.

Anglo-Irish Division works to promote peace and reconciliation on the island of Ireland through full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.  The Division works with a range of international partners towards this end and also provides practical programme support for community development and reconciliation activities in Northern Ireland. The Division has lead responsibility for all aspects of relations with the UK (other than internal EU matters), the United States and Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand.  The Division has management responsibilities for Ireland’s diplomatic offices in these regions.

An Irish Abroad & Global Irish Network Unit manages the Government’s engagement with the Irish abroad, assisting Irish communities abroad in maintaining their links with Ireland and actively engaging with them to further the Government’s objectives internationally.

Middle East Unit and Asia and Latin America Unit are regional units which have lead responsibility in the management of relations with countries, including the management of Ireland’s missions, in their respective geographic area. 

Consular and Passport Division is responsible for ensuring high quality consular and passport services to Irish citizens.

Legal Division provides legal advice and information to the Tánaiste and the Department on matters of public international law, human rights law, and European Union law and on other relevant legal issues. It develops and implements international legal policy in areas such as international criminal justice, international humanitarian law and the law of the sea. The Division represents Ireland in international legal proceedings and fora. It administers the Department’s Treaty Office and carries out functions with respect to extradition and mutual assistance.

The Protocol Service is responsible for the preparation and organisation of visits abroad by the President and visits to Ireland at Head of State, Head of Government and Foreign Minister level. It is also responsible for providing a high quality hospitality service for official events hosted by the Tánaiste in Iveagh House and at other venues such as Dublin Castle.  The Protocol Service facilitates the operation of diplomatic missions in Ireland in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and relevant Irish legislation and manages requests for Diplomatic Clearances for incoming and outgoing State aircraft and naval visits.

The Press Office manages the press, information and online presence of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Its role is to inform the media and the public on the work and services of the Department and its overseas missions and to help promote a positive image of Ireland abroad. 

Corporate Services Division provides Human Resource Management and Development, Finance, Information Technology, Accommodation and other services to headquarters and missions.

The Strategy and Performance Unit reviews the operations and systems of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland and at its embassies and offices overseas, and makes recommendations for improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the Department.

The Evaluation and Audit Unit reports directly to the Secretary General. 

Further information about the structure and work of the Department, including contact details for Irish Embassies and Consulates, can be found on our website: www.dfat.ie

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