Ireland’s new Roving Ambassador, Nuala O’Loan, is to travel to south-east Asia, it emerged today.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said the former Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland will visit Timor-Leste in the near future.
The Minister made the announcement after a meeting with Ms O’Loan, who was recently appointed Roving Ambassador for the Conflict Resolution Initiative with the role of Special Envoy to Timor-Leste.
Mr Ahern said Ms O’Loan faced a demanding task, but had no doubt she will be more than equal to it.
“We spoke about the demands of her new job and the development of Ireland’s conflict resolution initiative in Timor-Leste,” he said.
Mr Ahern said the announcement of Ms O’Loan’s appointment was warmly welcomed by the Government of Timor-Leste during his recent visit to Dili on February.
“My decision to appoint as Roving Ambassador a candidate of such skill and experience reflects Ireland’s commitment to Timor-Leste, and our desire to be of help in finding a path from conflict to sustainable peace and development,” he added.
“She and I today discussed elements of her role, which will be to advise the Government on appropriate measures to assist in peace building and conflict resolution in Timor-Leste.
“I expect that she will travel to Dili in the near future to assess opportunities for enhanced Irish engagement there.”
Working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, in particular the Anglo-Irish Division, Irish Aid and the Conflict Resolution Unit, Ms O’Loan’s new role will include reporting opportunities for Irish support for conflict resolution in Timor-Leste.
An Irish Representative Office was established in Dili in 2000, with the Irish government maintaining a strong commitment to the area. It is one of nine programme countries prioritised in the allocation of development assistance from Irish Aid.
Meanwhile, Mr Ahern told a conference on delivering an All Ireland economy that enormous benefits can be gained from Ireland’s EU membership.
He said as an all-island economy we face the challenges of globalisation together, but added the Union has stood by the state through the darkest times.
“Those challenges facing our workers, our environment and competitiveness today – right across this island – are global,” he said.
“Against these global issues – climate change, rising energy costs, trans-national crime and global economic downturns – our capacity to defend prosperity is greatly increased in the context of European Union and increased further still with the Reform Treaty in place.”