A raft of senior Department of Foreign Affairs officials have been promoted and nominated as ambassadors and heads of mission.
Almost a dozen promotions were agreed at last week’s Cabinet meeting, to head up missions in regions including Europe, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, and Canada.
The nominations were not formally announced and come amid mounting speculation that the outgoing Coalition will dissolve the Dáil and call a general election within weeks.
Details obtained by the Irish Examiner reveal the department officials from Iveagh House, those promoted from other missions as well as one official from the Department of Public Expenditure, have been nominated for the senior roles.
The 11 appointments, yet to be approved by host countries, come as the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to expand its missions abroad. Currently, it has over 80 missions.
Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said that last year was one of the busiest for missions abroad, with more than 2,300 Irish citizens receiving consular assistance of some kind.
The Cabinet agreed to nominate officials to ambassador roles to Sierra Leone (also Liberia), Tanzania (also to Burundi and Eritrea), Australia (also Fiji and New Zealand), Bulgaria, the Netherlands, Greece, Belgium, and Canada.
Nominations were also agreed for positions of permanent representatives to the Council of Europe, the OECD in Paris and for a representative to the Palestinian National Authority.
A Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman denied that the large turnover of ambassadors and mission heads was anything to do with the expected call of the general election in the coming weeks. He said a series of nominations were normally made at this time of the year so new representatives could settle into their roles by the summer.
Iveagh House also said nominations of ambassadors are subject to the approval of the authorities of the receiving states and appointments are not formally confirmed or publicly announced until this approval is forthcoming.
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