Honorary Consuls are an important element of global engagement involving two States, the appointing State and the host state. The functions, privileges and immunities of Honorary Consuls are set out in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. The Diplomatic and Consular Relations Act 1967 gave the Convention the force of law in the State and enabled Ireland to ratify the Convention the same year. Other States have ratified the Act at different stages.
Ireland currently has over 100 serving and retired Honorary Consuls or Honorary Consuls General based in the country. While the roles and functions performed by Honorary Consuls can vary, they are generally appointed to provide consular services and assistance to the citizens of the State that they represent in a specific geographical area in the host country. In some cases there will be an Embassy for that State in the host country and sometimes there may not be.
Decisions on the appointment of an Honorary Consul are taken by the Government of the appointing State and sent for approval to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Ireland and are subject to the approval of the host country Government, having regard to its rules and procedures.
The key roles that an Honorary Consul appointed to represent a foreign Government in Ireland may have are as follows:
* To provide consular services and/or assistance to citizens of the country that they represent in Ireland
* To support the local community of the nation that the represent in Ireland or in a specific geographic part of Ireland
* To assist in the development of trade and economic relations between the country that they represent and the host country
The appointment of an Honorary Consul is an honorary one, unsalaried and non-pensionable and is usually for a five year term that may be renewed subject to the approval of the appointing State. All Honorary Consuls are appointed subject to terms and conditions.
Details of all current serving Honorary Consuls in Ireland are available at www.dfa.ie