The European Union affects quite a few parts of Irish life, culture, and interests, and the Irish want to make sure that they are heard. That is the job of the Permanent Representation.
What is it?
Sometimes called the Perm Rep, the Permanent Representation consists of a group of about 85 leaders from nearly every Irish Government department—justice, defense, education, and so on. This group serves as the voice of Ireland to the European Union, where they negotiate, lobby for Irish interests, and form alliances amongst the 27 other member states’ representatives.
Who’s in it?
The Permanent Representation is led by Declan Kelleher, who has served as head Permanent Representative since September 2013. He is followed by the Deputy Permanent Representative, Tom Hanney, and the Representative to Political and Security Committee, Joe Hackett. In addition, there are one or more officials from each of the following government offices:
- Department of the Taoiseach; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Defence
- Department of Finance; Public Expenditure and Reform
- Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
- Department of Justice and Equality
- Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine
- Department of Environment, Community, and Local Government
- Department of Communications, Energy, and Natural Resources
- Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht
- Department of Education and Skills; Health; Social Protection
- Office of the Attorney General; Revenue Commissioners
With so many departments represented, this is Ireland’s largest overseas diplomacy mission, and it ensures that there’s an expert in each department giving advice as decisions are made.
Why does it matter?
Ireland’s EU membership affects nearly all aspects of government, and the Irish economy, in particular, has benefited from partnering with other countries in the union. While Ireland benefits, the Permanent Representation is there to ensure that Ireland’s policies and values are still upheld, and its interests and goals are kept in mind.