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President of Ireland

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President of Ireland

The President
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International Role

  • State & Official visits
  • The worldwide Irish community
  • Appointment of Irish Ambassadors
  • Accreditation of Foreign Ambassadors

State and Official visits

On state visits the President represents all the people of Ireland.  State visits, which occur at the formal invitation of another Head of State, express the quality of relations between Ireland and the host country and provide an opportunity for enhanced cooperation between the two states.

Although Ireland has a permanent international presence through its network of missions abroad, personal encounters between Heads of State continue to hold a special significance in deepening bilateral relations between states.

When the President makes a state visit he is often accompanied by Government representatives as well as representatives of Ireland’s business, academic and cultural communities.  Many issuesfeature on the agenda for talks between the President and the host Head of State and the themes will depend on the country in question.

The President also makes official visits abroad which generally involve less formal engagement with the host authorities.

State visits and official visits are valuable opportunities to promote Ireland’s interests in country concerned, to enhance our reputation in the international arena and to strengthen links with the Irish Diaspora around the world.

The worldwide Irish community

“It is my wish to be a President for all of the Irish at home and abroad. We Irish have been a diasporic people for a great part of our history. The circumstances that have impelled – and that continue to impel – many citizens to seek employment and a better life elsewhere, are not ordained by some mysterious hand of fate. They challenge our capacity to create a sustainable and prosperous economy and an inspiring model of the good society. We, in our time, must address the real circumstances that generate involuntary emigration, and resolve that in the years ahead we will strive with all our energy and intellect, with mind and heart to create an Ireland which our young people do not feel they have to leave and to which our emigrants, or their children, may wish, in time, to return to work and live in dignity and prosperity. I invite all of the Irish, wherever they may be across the world, to become involved with us in that task of remaking our economy and society.”

Inaugural address, 11 November 2011

Through state and official visits and his ongoing outreach to the Diaspora,  President Higgins wishes to engage with Irish people worldwide throughout his Presidency.  He is encouraging Irish people everywhere to contribute to his Presidency Seminars.

Appointment of Irish Ambassadors

Irish Embassies and Consulates represent Ireland in many countries around the world. On the recommendation of the Tánaiste and Minister for  Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Government formally nominates Ambassadors to be appointed by the President. These appointments are made once the President signs the necessary letter of credence in respect of the nominated Ambassador.

The Irish Ambassador then presents his/her credentials to the Head of State of the receiving state  which allows the new Ambassador to begin work in that country.

Accreditation of Foreign Ambassadors

When another country wishes to appoint a new Ambassador to Ireland the Government  must agree to that appointment.  An accreditation ceremony subsequently takes places at Áras an Uachtaráin.

The Ambassador-designate is greeted on arrival at Áras an Uachtaráin and invited to sign the visitors book. The Ambassador-designate then proceeds to the State Reception room, where he/she formally presents a letter of credence to the President of Ireland.

The formal exchanges of greetings between the new Ambassador and the President gives them the opportunity to get to know one another and also to convey messages between the authorities of the respective states.

Following accreditation, the new Ambassador is escorted by the President to the main front door of Áras an Uachtaráin where he/she inspects a military guard of honour.  The new Ambassador then departs Áras an Uachtaráin with a military escort.