Paris embassy to reopen after €2.5m revamp26/10/2006 - 17:21:09
A €2.5m revamp of the Irish embassy in Paris will be unveiled next week.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will join Ambassador Anne Anderson at the formal re-opening in the French capital on Monday.
The embassy, near the Champs Elysées, was purchased in the mid-1950s and is noted for its beautiful ceilings and décor.
More than 30,000 Irish people live in France, including more than 15,000 in Paris, and the country boasts a range of Irish societies and associations.
The revamp is part of a major €12m investment programme this year in Irish embassies abroad and Mr Ahern said he expects an equal or greater funding allocation for 2007.
So far in 2006, the department has bought a residence in Slovenia, a new embassy in the Hague and an Irish representation office for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.
Mr Ahern said the department also hoped to buy new property in Turkey before the end of the year.
Mr Ahern added: “We also are looking closely at number of locations for next year where we are currently paying high rents.
“Our approach to the purchase of embassies and residences is on a business-case-by-case basis. In other words if it makes sense to buy rather than rent we will pursue the purchase option where we have the funding to do so.
“Ultimately, in many instances it makes sense from the taxpayers’ point to buy an embassy outright than continue to pay annual rents.”
Mr Ahern said that Irish embassies abroad make a statement about Ireland as a sovereign nation.
He added: “They should reflect all that is best about Irish life and our economic profile, operating as a home from home for our citizens living abroad and as an arm of the state promoting Irish culture and trade."
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