Honorary Consuls are an important element of the Irish State’s global engagement. 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.
Ireland has an extensive network of approximately 100 honorary consuls or honorary consuls general throughout the world. While the roles and functions performed by honorary consuls can vary, they are generally appointed to provide consular services and assistance to Irish citizens in a specific geographical area, particularly in countries where there is no resident mission, and they also assist with trade promotion, in consultation with their supervising Embassy.
Decisions on the establishment of Honorary Consulates are taken by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade having regard to our objectives to;
(i) provide consular services and/or assistance to Irish citizens;
(ii) support local Irish community efforts; and
(iii) assist in the development of trade and economic relations with the country or region concerned.
These criteria are also considered when deciding on whether to replace an existing honorary consul when he/she is retiring. Appointments of honorary consuls are always subject to the approval of the host country Government, having regard to its rules and procedures.
The appointment of an Honorary Consul is an honorary one, unsalaried and non-pensionable. Each honorary consul is entitled to an honorarium (currently €1,125 per annum) to cover their out of pocket expenses. They may also retain half of the consular fees they collect, to offset the cost of providing such services and can reclaim certain communications costs incurred as part of their service delivery.
Honorary Consuls are appointed subject to terms and conditions. They are required to maintain accounts and submit these and an annual report to the Department and to comply with Irish data protection requirements.
Details of Honorary Consulates can be accessed through searching ‘by country’ in our directory of Embassies, Consulates and Honorary Consulates.