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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