Irish Consul for Wales

The Irish Government is to open a Consulates-General in Cardiff. The announcement was made in Dublin by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, a few days after Cardiff had hosted the European Summit (15-16 June, 1998).
A Consulates-General Office will also be opened in Edinburgh. Mr Andrews said that the decision to establish a Consulates-General Office in both Cardiff and Edinburgh will allow for the already close links that exist with Wales and Scotland to be further developed and deepened.
He said that the move stems from the Good Friday Agreement and from the process of devolution underway in Wales and Scotland. “The new British-Irish Council, (popularly known as ‘The Council of the Isles’) which is part of the Good Friday Agreement, will include representatives of the devolved institutions in Scotland and Wales as well as the Irish and British Governments and the Northern Ireland Assembly”.
“The Council will provide a vehicle for co-operation across a wide range of areas which could include transport, agriculture, culture, health, education, and EU matters. It is imperative that the Irish Government has available its own, first hand assessment of developments in Wales and Scotland, which the new Consulates will provide”.

Based on an Irish Embassy press statement.

Postscript:

The above was written in early summer, 1998. Since then Consul General Conor O'Riordan and his full time assistant Brendan Hannigan, also a career diplomat, have arrived in Cardiff and have become a most welcome and valuable part of both Irish and Welsh society, not only in Cardiff, but in the rest of Wales. Conor O'Riordan made the opening address at the Study Day on the theme, 'Ireland's Great Famine and Today's Famines', arranged by The Wales Famine Forum and held in 'Tabernacl Caerdydd', the Welsh Baptists' place of worship in The Hayes, Cardiff, since 1825, on Saturday 27 February. He was also present during the ceremonies in Cardiff on St. Patrick's Day this year when he unveiled The Wales National Great Famine Memorial jointly with Jon Owen Jones MP, Minister of State at the Welsh Office. Later that day he hosted a reception for members of the Irish community in Cardiff at Cardiff's City Hall.
The arrival of Conor O'Riordan and Brendan Halligan in Wales is, as explained in the statement above, one of the more positive outcomes of the 'Good Friday Agreement' of 1998 which included the eventual setting up of a 'Council of the Isles' which would include representatives of the Governments in London and Dublin, of the Assemblies in Belfast and Cardiff and of the Parliament in Edinburgh. We are all very pleased at this remarkable change in the status of the Irish community in Wales in relation to their actual or ancestral homeland. We are also very pleased at the increased staus of Wales itself brought about by the establishment of what is the first ever Consulate General in this small (about the size of the Irish province of Leinster) but warm hearted country where we have made our home.

Published in:

The Green Dragon No 7, Spring, 1998 .

Update - 15 October 2001
On this date Conor O'Riordan took up his new post as Consul General of Ireland in Scotland. At the same time Jim Carroll took his place as Consul General of Ireland in Wales. We have every reason to be grateful to Conor O'Riordan for his pioneering work during his three years in Cardiff and we wish him every success in his new role in Edinburgh.
We also welcome Jim Carroll and look forward to further developments as the Irish Government develops its relationship with all those of Irish birth or descent in Wales as well as with every aspect of the local and national life of Wales itself.

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