Ireland’s diplomatic service forced to shop for bargain basement gifts
Government hands over $10 cufflinks in cost cutting measure
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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To be fair, most American words and slang came FROM Ireland to begin with. I plan to visit Ireland and learn as much as possible. Can't wait.New Northern Ireland flag is not an option, loyalists tell Richard Haass
I think we have enough flags in Ireland as it is.Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
@Chuck: My point is that immigrants who are willing to work for low wages are not to be demonised but rather be pitied and/or admired. It's the greedyHow Christmas was in my father’s time
molliebawn, many many kids in rural Ireland used to share shoes or only wore them for special occasions so as not to ruin them or wear them out too fa