Forward by Secretary General Niall Burgess
2016 was an exceptionally busy year for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland and at our offices in over 70 countries around the world.
Our primary role is to support the Government in advancing Ireland’s interests and meeting the needs of our citizens at home and abroad. We did so in the face of many considerable challenges, not least of which was the impact of the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union. This, along with increasing number of Irish people travelling abroad, including to the Euro 2016 football championships in France, led to a significant increase in demand for our passport and consular services, in a year when we issued over 730,000 passports and launched a major reform of the Passport Service.
This Report presents these and some of the other key areas where we engaged on behalf of the Irish people in 2016. In addition to those referenced here, important work was also carried forward by every part of the Department, including our Legal, Corporate Services, Finance and Protocol Divisions and Irish Abroad, Evaluation & Audit, Policy Planning and Strategy & Performance Units.
I would like to express my appreciation to all my colleagues across the Irish Foreign Service – including at Ireland’s diplomatic missions overseas – who work hard to pursue our objectives. Several of them have contributed to this Report, sharing insights into their roles on a personal level.
I encourage you to learn more about our work and achievements over the course of 2016 and I thank all our citizens for their trust in us as Ireland’s representatives around the world.