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Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Trade
Charles Flanagan

since 11 July 2014
Appointer President of Ireland on the nomination of the Taoiseach
Inaugural holder George Noble Plunkett
Formation 22 January 1919
Website .ie.dfawww

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish: An tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála) is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government of Ireland. The Minister's office is located at Iveagh House, on St Stephen's Green in Dublin; "Iveagh House" is often used as a metonym for the department as a whole. From 1922 until 1971 the title of the office was "Minister for External Affairs".

The current office holder is Charles Flanagan, TD. He is assisted by:


  • Overview 1
  • List of office-holders 2
    • Minister for Foreign Affairs 1919–1922 2.1
    • Minister for External Affairs 1922–1971 2.2
    • Minister for Foreign Affairs 1971–2011 2.3
    • Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 2011–present 2.4
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The department has the following divisions:

  • Finance Unit – oversees the financial control of the department.
  • Anglo-Irish Division – deals with Anglo-Irish relations and Northern Ireland.
  • Cultural Division – administers the state's Cultural Relations Programme.
  • European Union Division – coordinates the state's approach within the European Union (EU).
  • Passport and Consular Division – is responsible for the issuing of passports to Irish citizens.
  • Political Division – is responsible for international political issues and manages the state's participation in the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy.
  • Protocol Division – is responsible for the organisation and management of visits of VIPs to the state and of visits abroad by the President of Ireland.

The Minister has responsibility for the relations between Ireland and foreign states. The department defines its role as

"The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministers of State and the Government on all aspects of foreign policy and coordinates Ireland's response to international developments. It also provides advice and support on all issues relevant to the pursuit of peace, partnership and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and between North and South of the island, and to deepening Ireland's relationship with Britain."[1]

List of office-holders

Iveagh House, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland
  Denotes acting Minister

Minister for Foreign Affairs 1919–1922

No. Name Term of office Party
1. George Noble Plunkett 22 January 1919 26 August 1921 Sinn Féin
2. Arthur Griffith[2] (1st time) 26 August 1921 9 January 1922 Sinn Féin
3. George Gavan Duffy 10 January 1922 25 July 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin
Arthur Griffith (2nd time) 26 July 1922 12 August 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin
4. Michael Hayes 21 August 1922 9 September 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin

Minister for External Affairs 1922–1971

No. Name Term of office Party
5. Desmond FitzGerald 30 August 1922 23 June 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
6. Kevin O'Higgins 23 June 1927 10 July 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
7. W. T. Cosgrave (acting) 10 July 1927 11 October 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
8. Patrick McGilligan 11 October 1927 9 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal
9. Éamon de Valera[3] 9 March 1932 18 February 1948 Fianna Fáil
10. Seán MacBride 18 February 1948 13 June 1951 Clann na Poblachta
11. Frank Aiken (1st time) 13 June 1951 2 June 1954 Fianna Fáil
12. Liam Cosgrave 2 June 1954 20 March 1957 Fine Gael
Frank Aiken (2nd time) 20 March 1957 2 July 1969 Fianna Fáil
13. Patrick Hillery 2 July 1969 3 March 1971 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Foreign Affairs 1971–2011

No. Name Term of office Party
Patrick Hillery 3 March 1971 3 January 1973 Fianna Fáil
14. Brian Lenihan (1st time) 3 January 1973 14 March 1973 Fianna Fáil
15. Garret FitzGerald 14 March 1973 5 July 1977 Fine Gael
16. Michael O'Kennedy 5 July 1977 11 December 1979 Fianna Fáil
Brian Lenihan (2nd time) 12 December 1979 30 June 1981 Fianna Fáil
17. John Kelly[4] 30 June 1981 21 October 1981 Fine Gael
18. James Dooge 21 October 1981 9 March 1982 Fine Gael
19. Gerry Collins (1st time) 9 March 1982 14 December 1982 Fianna Fáil
20. Peter Barry[5] 14 December 1982 10 March 1987 Fine Gael
Brian Lenihan (3rd time) 10 March 1987 12 July 1989 Fianna Fáil
Gerry Collins (2nd time) 12 July 1989 11 February 1992 Fianna Fáil
21. David Andrews (1st time) 11 February 1992 12 January 1993 Fianna Fáil
22. Dick Spring (1st time) 12 January 1993 17 November 1994 Labour Party
23. Albert Reynolds (acting) 18 November 1994 15 December 1994 Fianna Fáil
Dick Spring (2nd time) 15 December 1994 26 June 1997 Labour Party
24. Ray Burke 26 June 1997 7 October 1997 Fianna Fáil
David Andrews (2nd time) 8 October 1997 27 January 2000 Fianna Fáil
25. Brian Cowen 27 January 2000 29 September 2004 Fianna Fáil
26. Dermot Ahern 29 September 2004 7 May 2008 Fianna Fáil
27. Micheál Martin 7 May 2008 19 January 2011 Fianna Fáil
Brian Cowen (2nd time) 19 January 2011 9 March 2011 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 2011–present

No. Name Term of office Party
28. Eamon Gilmore 9 March 2011 11 July 2014 Labour Party
29. Charles Flanagan 11 July 2014 Incumbent Fine Gael

See also


  1. ^ Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: The Role of the Department
  2. ^ On the first occasion he held the foreign affairs portfolio, Arthur Griffith's official title was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. ^ Éamon de Valera, who was head of government (President of the Executive Council until 1937, renamed Taoiseach in 1937) served as his own foreign minister.
  4. ^ When Garret FitzGerald formed a government in mid 1981 he announced that he would be appointing James Dooge to be a senator and once in office would make him minister. However as the appointment could not be made until Seanad Éireann's general election had taken place (which would be a few weeks), in the interim the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism, John Kelly, would act as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  5. ^ When the Labour Party withdrew from cabinet in early 1987, a new interim cabinet, made up simply of the outgoing Fine Gael ministers, was formed. Peter Barry continued on as Foreign Minister in that short-lived Fine Gael cabinet.

External links

  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
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