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Sarah McCabe - APU

I joined the Department last year, assigned to Asia Pacific Unit, where I cover South East Asia, South Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The months since have been packed and really enjoyable. From Ireland’s perspective the Asia Pacific region has never been more important politically and economically so it’s a busy section. As a desk officer, I act as a contact point for local Embassies from Asia Pacific as well as Ireland’s missions in the region. I assist with political visits to and from my countries, working on logistics, consulting with other Departments and state agencies and preparing comprehensive briefs for senior officials and politicians. One of my first tasks was to assist with briefing for the State Visit undertaken by President Higgins last November to Vietnam and Laos.

I follow policy and political developments in the region and contribute to Parliamentary Questions submitted by TDs on Ireland’s relationships with Asian countries, such as our position on the situation in Myanmar/Burma. In April I travelled to Singapore to participate in a regional Deputy Head of Mission meeting for South East Asia, meeting officers serving in the region to share views on consular, visa and administrative issues and give an update on progress towards Ireland’s new Asia Strategy, which is under development.

There have been lots of other opportunities outside of the day job to build experience, meet new colleagues and have a bit of fun. I am involved in the Public Service Executive Union (PSEU), which has two branches at DFAT. I’ve also taken part in the Diplomats in the Classroom programme, in which Department staff visit schools around the country to talk to students about foreign policy and Ireland’s place in the world.