Taoiseach’s spin on doubling Ireland’s diplomatic presence finally exposed

Published on: 22 September 2017

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the Taoiseach’s announcement to double Ireland’s global footprint is another example of this Government publicising plans that lack substance or roadmap for delivery.

O’Brien made his comments following Foreign Affairs and Trade questions in the Dáil earlier this week.

He said, “While visiting Canada in August the Taoiseach announced plans to double Ireland’s global footprint by the year 2025.

“Based on the responses that I have received both in the Dáil yesterday and through tabled Parliamentary Questions, I can only infer that the Taoiseach made this announcement prior to any consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and without undertaking any analysis of what it would involve or indeed cost.

“In fact, during questions in the Dáil this week I was informed that doubling our global footprint would not necessarily mean doubling our presence overseas in any literal sense.

“This response not only seems outright odd but also highlights a worrying disconnect between the Taoiseach and the Department regarding this issue.

“In truth, there is no plan in place, no targets set and no newly identified markets or regions in which to expand or increase our global footprint.

“Announcing a strategy without having a concrete and detailed plan in place is disingenuous and once again demonstrates Taoiseach Varadkar’s well established fondness for PR.

“Today marks the Taoiseach’s first 100 days in office and it’s hard to envisage what real tangible action has been achieved on this and other important announcements.

“Significantly increasing our diplomatic presence overseas will certainly not be achieved with sound-bites or slogans; we need a roadmap as to how the Taoiseach’s strategy is to be achieved.

Deputy O’Brien concluded, “The Taoiseach would be better advised to involve himself in the substance of this proposal, in particular how much it will cost, rather than repeatedly re-hashing non-plans in an effort to make it appear like substantive action is being taken.”

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