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Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore Photo by: Google Images

Ireland’s diplomatic service forced to shop for bargain basement gifts

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Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore Photo by: Google Images

Ireland’s economic collapse has hit the diplomatic gift business – Irish ambassadors across the world are now handing over $10 cufflinks and $15 key rings to dignitaries.

As part of its new austerity measures, the government has cracked down heavily on gifts according to the Irish Sun newspaper.

A report in the paper says that Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore has ordered embassies to shop in the bargain basement.

Minister Gilmore himself has spent just $3000 on gifts since he entered office last year.

The paper says his biggest expenditure was on his first official function when UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was presented with a framed Failte Ogham script stone, valued at $250.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NY city council speaker Christine Quinn were both presented with a $150 Bernadette Madden print when Gilmore visited America a year ago.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping received a $160 chess set during his visit to Dublin last year.

An official trip to eastern European states in April saw the presidents of Armenia and Georgia gifted $75 bog oak pens.

Blue harp design cufflinks, priced at just $10, were handed out by Minister Richard Bruton on a trip to Kenya three months ago.

The Department of Foreign Affairs told the Irish Sun: “Gift-giving is standard international practice in the context of ministerial and other high-level visits.”

It was also stressed that presents were sourced in Ireland and of Irish interest.
 

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