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Foreword by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney T.D.

By any measure, 2016 was an eventful year for Ireland.

We marked the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising in a manner that was inclusive and respectful of differing traditions and perspectives throughout the island of Ireland and in many corners of the world far beyond our shores.

We enjoyed great performances by the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland football teams at the Euro 2016 Championships held in France.

We also faced into the considerable challenges brought about by the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade including our diplomatic missions abroad was centrally involved in these and many other issues of national and global-level importance throughout 2016.

We also contributed significantly to the achievement of progress on migration issues at UN level and helped to broker a Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

I wish to record my thanks and appreciation to my predecessor as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan T.D., and to former Ministers of State Joe McHugh and Dara Murphy for all their hard work and dedication on these and multiple other issues in 2016 and throughout their time at the Department.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the women and men who work at all levels of the Irish Foreign Service, in Ireland and around the world, towards advancing the interests and values of Ireland and its citizens

While much of this work remains ongoing, I hope that you will find useful and interesting insights in this Annual Report that help to place our role in context. We remain determined to build on the progress achieved to date and to continue delivering for Ireland.

Simon Coveney T.D.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade