€16.9m spent on diplomatic properties as rents soar

Four locations in Brussels came to €1,424,653. Photo: Reuters
Four locations in Brussels came to €1,424,653. Photo: Reuters

The State spent €16.9m on rent for embassies, consulates and housing for diplomats in 2017, as the Department of Foreign Affairs grappled with escalating costs in the rental market worldwide.

The average annual rent on 113 properties around the globe stood at just under €150,000 last year; but in some locations it was much higher.

Three properties in New York – including a premises for Ireland’s mission to the United Nations and offices and accommodation relating to the Irish consulate – cost a combined €1,915,116 to rent, or almost €160,000 a month.

Four locations in Brussels came to €1,424,653. One of them houses the missions to Belgium and the EU, two others are for diplomats’ accommodation and another is premises for the mission to Nato’s Partnership for Peace initiative.

Meanwhile, €1,110,122 was spent on three properties in China – the embassy in Beijing (€501,825) and the consulates in Shanghai (€326,427) and Hong Kong (€281,870).

In Tokyo, a combined €841,089 was spent on the embassy (€300,133) and official accommodation (€540,956).

The combined embassy and residence in London, as well as a separate passport office, cost a total of €624,463 in rent.

Embassy and accommodation rental costs for two properties in New Delhi in India came to €595,214 last year.

The figures are contained in papers sent to the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee after a recent meeting, at which Department of Foreign Affairs secretary general Niall Burgess was quizzed by Independent TD Catherine Connolly, about the cost of properties for Ireland’s diplomatic missions.

Irish Independent

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