Dáil Éireann - Volume 466 - 11 June, 1996

Written Answers. - Diplomatic Relations with Libya.

28. Mr. Cowen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs the visits that have been made to Libya by the Irish ambassador accredited to Libya in each of the past four years; the number of Irish ambassadors accredited to Libya during this period; the nature of each specific visit to Libya by such ambassadors; the business transacted during such visits; the purpose of the visits; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12120/96]

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Spring): I would refer the Deputy to my answer to his written [1553] question of 5 June 1996, in which I outlined the number and nature of ministerial and diplomatic visits to Libya and Egypt in the last five years. As already indicated, there have been 11 visits to Libya by Irish diplomatic officers since 1991; of these nine were to discuss the importation by Libya of Irish cattle and beef, one was to discuss trade and technical co-operation between Ireland and Libya including beef and cattle imports and the purpose of the remaining visit was to attend the inauguration of an infrastructure project.

Irish diplomatic relations with Libya have been maintained on a non-residential basis by the Irish Embassy to Italy ever since diplomatic relations were opened with Libya in 1977. Four ambassadors have been accredited to Libya during this period. The latst Irish Ambassador to be accredited to Libya was the late Ambassador C.P. Fogarty who presented his credentials in Tripoli on 13 October 1987 and served until December 1991 in that capacity.

There have been no ambassadorial visits to Libya in the past four years. The Government has nominated the current Irish Ambassador to Italy, H.E. Joseph Small, as Ambassador to Libya and arrangements are being made for his accreditation by agreement with the Libyan authorities.