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The Embassy’s History

A brief history of the Embassy

In September 1960, Ireland opened a Consulate in Lagos, Nigeria's then capital, headed by Consul Aedan O'Beirne (now deceased). At that time, there were about forty diplomatic missions in Lagos. Mr. O'Beirne arrived in Nigeria in early September and immediately set about meeting with the Chief of Protocol at the Nigerian Foreign Ministry to make arrangements for the visit of Ireland's then Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Seán Lemass. The former Taoiseach visited from 25 September to 2 October 1960 to attend Nigeria's independence celebrations.

In 1961, the Consulate was upgraded to a full Embassy and Ireland's first Ambassador to Nigeria, Eamonn Kennedy (now deceased) assumed duties in Lagos on 30 August 1961. Embassy Lagos was Ireland's first Embassy on the African continent. At that time, approximately 1,000 Irish priests and nuns were working in Nigeria. Though their numbers today are few, the Embassy is regularly reminded of the Irish missionaries' contribution to education in Nigeria.

Abuja became the new capital in 1991 and the Embassy relocated here in 2000. The Embassy is also responsible for Ireland's diplomatic relations with Ghana, Senegal and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Ireland's Ambassadors to Nigeria
Edward (Eamonn) Kennedy 1961-1964
Kevin Rush 1964-1968
Paul Keating 1968-1970
Tadhg O'Sullivan 1970-1974
Michael Flynn 1974-1977
James Kirwan 1977-1980
Aidan Mulloy 1981-1984
Dermot Gallagher 1985-1987
Patrick Cradock 1989-1993
Brendan McMahon 1994-1998
Joseph Lynch 1998-2003
Liam Canniffe 2003-2007
Kyle O'Sullivan 2007-2010
Patrick Fay 2010-2014
Sean Hoy 2014-