Cabinet approves major reshuffle of ambassadors


In a major diplomatic reshuffle, more than 20 new ambassadorial appointments were approved by the Cabinet yesterday. Subject to agreement by the host governments, new heads of mission will shortly take over in Washington, Beijing, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and other capitals.

Some of the more high-profile appointments include a move to Washington as ambassador to the US for Anne Anderson, currently Ireland’s Ambassador, or permanent representative, to the United Nations in New York.

Ms Anderson will be replaced at UN headquarters by David Donoghue, who currently holds the key position of political director at the Department of Foreign Affairs and previously served as ambassador to Germany. Barrie Robinson, now head of corporate services, will become the department’s political director.

Washington developments

The current Ambassador to Washington, Michael Collins, moves to Berlin. Dan Mulhall, the present Ambassador to Germany, moves to London to be ambassador to the United Kingdom.

The incumbent in London, Bobby McDonagh, will become ambassador to Italy (and also Libya), replacing Patrick Hennessy. Mr Hennessy has been nominated as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, a post that also covers Kuwait, Qatar and Afghanistan.

The current Irish Ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Ciarán Madden, is returning to headquarters in Dublin.

From Paris to Beijing

Paul Kavanagh, Ireland’s Ambassador to France, moves to Beijing to replace current Ambassador to China Declan Kelleher. Mr Kelleher will take up the Brussels-based position of permanent representative to the European Union, replacing Rory Montgomery who has been nominated as ambassador to France.

Philip McDonagh, at present Ambassador to Russia, and Eoin O’Leary, currently Ambassador to the Vienna-based Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), will swap places.

Mr O’Leary’s brief in Moscow will also include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

Gerard Corr, at present permanent representative to the United Nations in Geneva, will become ambassador to Romania (and also the Republic of Macedonia and Moldova), replacing Oliver Grogan, who is retiring.

Eamonn McKee, currently Ambassador to Korea, has been nominated as ambassador to Israel, replacing Breifne O’Reilly, who returns to headquarters in Dublin.

Patricia O’Brien, who now serves as legal counsel and under-secretary general at the United Nations secretariat in New York, has been nominated as Ireland’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva.

Ambassador to Bulgaria

John Biggar, currently counsellor in the political division at the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters, becomes ambassador to Bulgaria (and also Georgia and Armenia), replacing John Rowan, who is retiring.

Dónal Denham, at present director for western Europe and external relations at the department’s headquarters and formerly ambassador to Lithuania, moves to Helsinki as ambassador to Finland, replacing Dermot Brangan, who returns to Dublin.

Joseph Hackett, now head of the Irish Abroad unit at headquarters, moves to Brussels to take up the position of ambassador to the political and security committee of the EU and to the Western European Union, replacing Keith McBean, who returns to Dublin.

Sonja Hyland, at present director for economic messaging and cultural relations in the trade and promotion division of the department, has been nominated as Ireland’s ambassador to Mexico (which also covers Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Peru and Venezuela).

Aingeal O’Donoghue, currently counsellor at the permanent representation office in Brussels, has been nominated as ambassador to Korea (and also to North Korea), replacing Eamonn McKee.

Pat Bourne, the deputy director for Africa in the development co-operation division at the department’s headquarters, will take up the position of consul general in Edinburgh. Philip Grant, currently serving as director of the department’s press office, becomes consul general in San Francisco.

Breandán Ó Caollai, the joint director general overseeing the International Fund for Ireland in the department’s Anglo-Irish division, becomes consul general in Boston.

Niall Holohan, Ireland’s current Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will also take on the position of non-resident ambassador to Iraq.