From Declan Breathnach, TD (5th July 2016)

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the total number of personnel in his Department currently based in the Northern Ireland section; his plans to expand that section in light of the Brexit referendum result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19500/16]

From Declan Breathnach, TD (5th July 2016)

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the number of personnel in his Department focused specifically on dealing with the implications of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19502/16]

From Minister Charles Flanagan Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

I propose to take Questions Nos. 342 and 344 together.

From the moment Prime Minister David Cameron first proposed a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU in 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has worked closely with the Department of the Taoiseach on this important strategic issue for Ireland. Work is underway to ensure that capabilities and resources are put in place to manage the complex process of a UK exit from the EU.

I am happy to set out the resources which are in place in my Department as of today. Within my Department, lead responsibility for the UK-EU relationship lies with Ireland, UK and Americas (IUKA) Division, within which there is a dedicated British-Irish Relations Unit currently staffed by five officers. This Unit works very closely with colleagues in the wider IUKA Division, especially those colleagues focused on Northern Ireland. Supporting and sustaining peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland is a key priority for my Department and protecting the interests of Northern Ireland will be a crucial element of our approach to any negotiations regarding the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Department also has a Policy Planning Unit which was established in 2014 and has provided policy analysis to the IUKA Division. In addition, there is also an intra-Departmental contact group on the UK-EU relationship, comprising senior officials across all of the Department’s divisions and units.

In terms of Irish offices abroad focused on the UK-EU relationship, I would list in particular the Embassy of Ireland in London, the Consulate General of Ireland in Edinburgh, our offices in Belfast and Armagh, and the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the European Union in Brussels. Missions across the EU and further afield are all working on this issue, especially as the expected UK exit process approaches.

I would also add that seven diplomatic officers of the Department are seconded to the European Union Division in the Department of the Taoiseach, while two diplomatic officers are seconded to the International and EU Relations Division of the Department of Finance.

From Declan Breathnach, TD (5th July 2016)

To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the total number of personnel in his Department currently based in the Irish embassy in London broken down by section; his plans to expand that section in light of the Brexit referendum result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19501/16]

From Minister Charles Flanagan Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

A total of 46 officers are based in the Embassy of Ireland in London, including the Passport Office which is part of the Embassy. Of those, 31 staff are posted from Headquarters and 15 are locally recruited staff.

The possible resource implications of the UK referendum for the work of our Embassy in London and our other business units are currently being considered by my Department, in consultation with other relevant Departments.