On the recommendation of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, the Government today approved 19 Ambassador nominations. These appointments will take place during 2023, subject to agreement by the receiving States.
The Government also took note of the appointment of three Consuls General as well as a new Joint Secretary of the North South Ministerial Council in Armagh.
When these 24 nominations take effect during 2023, 52% of Ireland’s diplomatic missions will be headed by women. For the first time, over half of Ireland’s missions around the world will be led by women.
Across the regions, three Ambassadors have been nominated in Africa, one in the Americas, three in the Asia Pacific region, ten in Europe and two in the Middle East and North Africa region. The Ambassadors nominated for appointment in South Africa and Sweden will take on coordination functions for the Missions in Africa and the Nordic Baltic regions respectively.
Commenting on the nominations, Minister Coveney said:
“I welcome these nominations and I am particularly proud that, for the first time ever, over half of our missions will be led by women. This is an important landmark and appointing women to these leadership positions reflects my commitment, and that of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to making real and visible progress on gender equality, at home and abroad.
Today’s nominations include a new Permanent Representative to the European Union, Aingeal O’Donoghue, who will take up post next summer. Her appointment comes at a critical time for the EU and as Ireland prepares for our next Presidency of the EU in 2026.
Today’s announcement is made also in the context of the Government’s commitment to deliver on the ambition of the Global Ireland programme to double Ireland’s impact and influence in the period 2018 to 2025. Since 2018 the Government has announced 22 new missions around the world, the most recent of which were decided in September. These were new Consulates General in Munich and Milan and an Embassy in Islamabad. Assignments to these missions will take place at a future date.
I am thankful to the men and women who represent Ireland at home and around the world with great professionalism. I have seen the commitment that they show and the value of their efforts as they support Irish citizens abroad and work tirelessly to promote Ireland’s interests through effective international engagement.”
Notes for Editors:
All Ambassadorial level appointments are subject to the agreement of the receiving State and in any reporting should be presented as nominations.
Of the 19 Ambassadorial nominations, 11 are women and 8 are men. Including Consuls General and the Joint Secretary in Armagh, today’s announcement brings to 14 the number of women who will take up Head of Mission roles in 2023 out of a total of 23.
Once all these appointments to bilateral and multilateral missions are in place in 2023, the percentage of female Heads of Mission will be 52%, up from46% last year and 36% two years ago.
The Ambassadorial and senior-level nominations approved by the Government are as follows:
Ms Aingeal O’Donoghue, currently on secondment to the Department of the Taoiseach, to be Permanent Representative to the European Union.
Ms Caitríona Doyle, currently Counsellor in Corporate Services Division, to be Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Ms Caitríona Ingoldsby, currently Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union, to be Ambassador to Kenya (and Eritrea, Somalia and Sudan).
Mr Aidan Fitzpatrick, currently Senior Development Specialist at the Embassy of Ireland to Ethiopia, to be Ambassador to Sierra Leone.
Mr Austin Gormley, currently Ambassador to Sweden, to be Ambassador to South Africa (and Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and the Southern Africa Development Community).
Mr Colum Hatchell, currently Principal Officer in Corporate Services Division, to be Ambassador to Chile (and Ecuador and Peru).
Mr Kevin Kelly, currently Communications Director, to be Ambassador to India (and Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives).
Ms Orla Tunney, currently on secondment to the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, to be Ambassador to Malaysia.
Ms Deirdre Ní Fhallúin, currently Counsellor in the Consular Directorate, to be Ambassador to Vietnam (and Cambodia and Laos).
Mr Alan Gibbons, currently Counsellor in Development Cooperation and Africa Division, to be Ambassador to the Czech Republic.
Mr Ragnar Almqvist, currently Counsellor in European Union Division, to be Ambassador to Hungary (and the Republic of Kosovo and Montenegro).
Ms Jean McDonald, currently Deputy Director in the Strategy, Governance and Change Unit, to be Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Ms Claire Buckley, currently Ambassador to Sierra Leone, to be Ambassador to Norway (and Iceland).
Ms Alma Ní Choigligh, currently Acting Director General, European Union Division, to be Ambassador to Portugal (and Cabo Verde, Angola, Guinea-Bissau and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries).
Ms Barbara Jones, currently Assistant Secretary of Corporate Services Division, to be Ambassador to Sweden.
Ms Aoife McGarry, currently Counsellor in European Union Division, to be Ambassador to Switzerland (and Algeria and Liechtenstein).
Mr John McCullagh, currently Ambassador to Vietnam, to be Ambassador to Türkiye (and Azerbaijan, Iran and Pakistan).
Middle East / North Africa
Ms Sonya McGuinness, currently Ambassador to Türkiye, to be Ambassador to Israel.
Representative to the Palestinian Authority
Mr Feilim McLaughlin, currently Counsellor in the Development Cooperation and Africa Division, to be Representative to the Palestinian Authority.
Other Senior Appointments, including Consuls General
Ms Hilary Reilly, currently Ambassador to Malaysia, to be Joint Secretary, North South Ministerial Council in Armagh.
Ms Sighle FitzGerald, currently Deputy Director in the Ireland, UK and Americas Division, to be Consul General in Boston.
Mr Jerry O’Donovan, currently Chargé d’Affaires a.i. at the Embassy of Ireland to Denmark, to be Consul General in Edinburgh.
Ms Jennifer Bourke, currently Deputy Director in the Ireland, UK and Americas Division, to be Consul General in Hong Kong.