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Our Strategy and Guiding Principles

The mission of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is to serve the Irish people, promote their values and advance their prosperity and interests abroad, and to provide the Government with the capabilities, analysis and influence to ensure that Ireland derives the maximum benefit from all areas of its external engagement.

The Department's Strategy Statement focuses on how we implement the commitments assigned to us in the Programme for a Partnership Government and meet international challenges. We have identified five high-level goals to guide our work from 2016 to 2019 in our Statement of Strategy 2016-2019‌ which are outlined below.

The preparation of the Statement of Strategy was informed by the core foreign policy statements The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World  and Irelands Policy for International Development and involved external consultation, including across Government and with the Oireachtas, as well as internal consultation with all staff in the Department.

Our People: To serve our people at home and abroad and to promote reconciliation and cooperation

Maintaining peace and stability on our island and consolidating the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent agreements, including the Fresh Start Agreement and the Stormont House Agreement, remain central to our work. This is especially important in the context of the UK’s decision to exit the EU. We shall continue to foster reconciliation and to develop opportunities for North-South cooperation for the benefit of both parts of this island.

The effective delivery of passport and consular services for our citizens at home and abroad is a central component of the Department's work. We will continue to deliver a modern, secure passport service. We constantly strive to improve our response to crises as well as the needs of individual citizens travelling abroad.

Under this goal, we will consolidate our efforts to support our emigrants and engage meaningfully with the Diaspora.

Our Place in Europe: To protect and advance Ireland's values and interests in Europe

Our engagement with the EU remains central to Ireland's foreign policy. We will focus our efforts on ensuring that Ireland’s interests are reflected in the negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU and on ensuring that Ireland has a strong voice in the future direction of the EU.

We aim to do this by nurturing strong relationships with the EU institutions and other Member States, as well as building an enduring bilateral relationship with our closest neighbour, the UK.

We will work to ensure that Ireland makes a strong contribution to the EU's global engagement and to the promotion of peace and security in Europe.

Our Values: To work for a fairer, more just, secure and sustainable world

The Department aims to promote Ireland's values in all areas of its work. Through our development cooperation work and our engagement in multilateral fora we aim to make further progress in eradicating poverty and hunger, promoting inclusive economic growth, and promoting and protecting human rights internationally. We will promote a stable and secure, rules-based international environment through the UN and the EU, and our other multilateral and bilateral partners and NGOs. We will play a strong role in ensuring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Our Prosperity: To advance Ireland's prosperity by promoting our economic interests internationally

Promoting our economic growth remains a key priority for the government. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade plays a leading role in fostering the international dimension of Ireland's economic growth, in close cooperation with the State Agencies, Irish business and the Global Irish Network.

Our network of diplomatic missions is actively promoting Ireland as open for business and a destination for inward investment. We build and maintain strong bilateral relations to promote our economic interests abroad, helping us contribute to job creation, the identification of opportunities for exports, and the promotion of tourism and education in Ireland. Our missions also ensure that accurate information about the benefits of doing business in Ireland is communicated to key international decision makers and opinion formers.

The Department also promotes Ireland through the delivery of a strong programme of cultural engagement through our Missions abroad- we aim to deliver 300 such events each year.

Our Influence: To strengthen our influence and our capacity to deliver our goals

The Department upholds the highest ethos of public service. We aim to be an open and accountable Department, with a professional and capable workforce in a positive working environment, which delivers best practice in governance, is responsible to national and global changes and challenges, and provides a unified service to the Government and Irish Citizens.

Rather than looking at our high-level goals in isolation, we recognise - as clearly stated in The Global Island - that they are intertwined and support one another. The work of every individual in this department is linked to the delivery of these goals. Further information can be found in the Statement of Strategy.

For more Information

Read our Statement of Strategy 2016-2019.