How we spend your money

The Department of Foreign Affairs budget is allocated across six expenditure programmes which correspond to the High-Level Goals as set out in the Department’s Statement of Strategy.

Of these six programmes, five are managed through Vote 28 (Foreign Affairs) and one through Vote 27 (International Cooperation).

The budget allocations for each programme include pay and non-pay administration costs incurred at headquarters and by diplomatic missions across the world. These administration costs are allocated with regard to the assessed contribution made by business units to each Programme.

The Department also has a capital allocation, primarily used for the passport reform programme, for ICT investment and for the management of State properties overseas.

The Department’s gross expenditure in 2023 is projected to be €1.057 billion, of which over €716 million is to fund Irish Aid. The capital allocation for 2023 - included in the figure of €1.057 billion - is €25 million.

As well as expenditure to support our programmes, the Department also receives income from various sources, most notably the Passport Service.

In 2023, total receipts in the Department (known as Appropriations-in-Aid) are estimated at €66.030 million.

The programmes that we implement are as follows:

Programme A: Our people

To serve our people at home and abroad and to promote reconciliation and co-operation.

The aim of this programme is to effectively deliver passport and consular services for our citizens; support our emigrants and deepen engagement with our diaspora; sustain peace and enhance reconciliation and political progress in Northern Ireland; and increase North South and British-Irish cooperation.

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • increase resources to the Passport Service to meet citizen demand, in particular in the context of continuing high levels of passport applications;
  • continue the roll-out of the passport reform programme;
  • continue the enhancement of consular assistance to meet demand from Irish citizens;
  • fund emigrant support programmes and diaspora engagement in support of vulnerable Irish communities overseas; and
  • provide ongoing support to organisations promoting reconciliation and mutual understanding between North and South and between Britain and Ireland.

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €112.785 million.

Programme B: Our Europe

To advance Ireland’s interests, influence and values in our shared Europe.

The aim of this programme is to support the development of strong relationships with the EU institutions and other member states. The programme also supports Ireland’s contribution to the EU’s global engagement on peace, security, trade and development, as well as security in the wider European region.

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • continue to expand and deepen our engagement with our EU partners;
  • safeguard Ireland’s interests in the broader context of Brexit; and
  • ensure Ireland’s values and interests are reflected in the development of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, in particular in the context of the current situation in Eastern Europe.

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €44.363 million.

Programme C: Our values

To work for a fairer, just, secure and sustainable world.

The aim of this programme is to advance Ireland’s contribution towards a more just world through the promotion and protection of human rights internationally and a more secure world based on a stable and secure rules-based international environment.

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • meet our commitments to fund various regional and international organisations of which Ireland is a member, and through which Irish foreign policy goals are pursued;
  • promote human rights globally; and
  • promote conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation and the meaningful engagement of women, youth and civil society in these processes.

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €64.599 million.

Programme D: Our prosperity

To advance Ireland’s prosperity by extending our influence and promoting our interests internationally.

The aim of this programme is to assist the Department’s work in focusing on leveraging our resources to drive job creation, exports (including cultural exports), inward investment and the tourism and education market.

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • deepen and strengthen our presence in key and new Missions overseas under the Global Ireland Initiative to avail of economic and strategic opportunities for Ireland;
  • advance work on the opening of new Missions in Dakar, Islamabad, Milan, Munich and Tehran.

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €47.812 million.

Programme E: Our effectiveness

To strengthen our effectiveness and capacity to deliver on our goals.

The aim of this programme is to strengthen our corporate performance, with a view to improving public service and supporting officers and their families serving the State abroad.

This includes security of our staff and State properties abroad, enhanced corporate governance, increased public diplomacy, a strong commitment to transparency, customer satisfaction engagement and reviewing and upgrading key corporate processes and procedures.

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • Continue to review and reinforce capacity at HQ and in key strategic Missions; and
  • Strengthen and deepen HQ corporate and policy support for the Global Ireland Initiative to facilitate the roll-out of the initiative and to support the maximisation of the benefits to Ireland under the plan.

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €71.069 million.

International Cooperation: Work on Poverty and Hunger Reduction

In ‘A Better World’, Ireland’s policy for international development, the Government reaffirmed its commitment to solidarity with the world’s poorest people. ‘A Better World’ situates effective international development co-operation as an essential foreign policy tool. 

It is a core component of our engagement with the EU, and in increasing our influence within the UN and in other key multilateral fora, as well as contributing to Ireland’s delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals

Under this programme, the 2023 allocation will allow the Department to:

  • continue to deliver a programme of high quality development aid and humanitarian assistance;
  • increase our engagement on climate action, in keeping with Government commitments;
  • address the consequences of war in Ukraine, including global food security. 

The allocation in 2023 for this programme is €716.5 million.

In addition to this funding administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) includes funding administered by a number of other Government Departments and Ireland’s share allocation of the EU Development Cooperation Budget.

For more information

More detail on each of the programmes can be found in the Department's Statement of Strategy 2021-2023.

More detail on the outputs and output targets for each programme is contained in the Revised Estimates for Public Services, published annually by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

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