Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Last updated

Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Trade
Simon Coveney

since 14 June 2017
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Member of
Reports to Taoiseach
Seat Iveagh House, Dublin, Ireland
Appointer President of Ireland on the nomination of the Taoiseach
Inaugural holder George Noble Plunkett
Formation22 January 1919

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Irish : An tAire Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála) is the senior minister at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Government of Ireland.


The Minister's office is located at Iveagh House, on St Stephen's Green in Dublin; "Iveagh House" is often used as a metonym for the department as a whole. From 1922 until 1971 the title of the office was "Minister for External Affairs".

The current office holder is Simon Coveney, TD. He is assisted by:


The department has the following divisions:

The Minister has responsibility for the relations between Ireland and foreign states. The department defines its role as: "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Ministers of State and the Government on all aspects of foreign policy and coordinates Ireland's response to international developments. It also provides advice and support on all issues relevant to the pursuit of peace, partnership and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, and between North and South of the island, and to deepening Ireland's relationship with Britain." [1]

List of office-holders

Iveagh House, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ireland
  Denotes acting Minister

Minister for Foreign Affairs 1919–1922

No.PortraitNameTerm of officeParty
1. George Noble Plunkett 22 January 191926 August 1921 Sinn Féin
2. Arthur Griffith [2] (1st time)26 August 19219 January 1922 Sinn Féin
3. George Gavan Duffy 10 January 192225 July 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin
Arthur Griffith (2nd time)26 July 192212 August 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin
4. Michael Hayes 21 August 19229 September 1922 Pro-Treaty Sinn Féin

Minister for External Affairs 1922–1971

No.PortraitNameTerm of officeParty
5. Desmond FitzGerald 30 August 192223 June 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
6. Kevin O'Higgins 23 June 192710 July 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
7. W. T. Cosgrave 10 July 192711 October 1927 Cumann na nGaedheal
8. Patrick McGilligan 11 October 19279 March 1932 Cumann na nGaedheal
9. Éamon de Valera [3] 9 March 193218 February 1948 Fianna Fáil
10. Seán MacBride 18 February 194813 June 1951 Clann na Poblachta
11. Frank Aiken (1st time)13 June 19512 June 1954 Fianna Fáil
12. Liam Cosgrave 2 June 195420 March 1957 Fine Gael
Frank Aiken (2nd time)20 March 19572 July 1969 Fianna Fáil
13. Patrick Hillery 2 July 19693 March 1971 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Foreign Affairs 1971–2011

No.PortraitNameTerm of officeParty
Patrick Hillery 3 March 19713 January 1973 Fianna Fáil
14. Brian Lenihan (1st time)3 January 197314 March 1973 Fianna Fáil
15. Garret FitzGerald 14 March 19735 July 1977 Fine Gael
16. Michael O'Kennedy 5 July 197711 December 1979 Fianna Fáil
Brian Lenihan (2nd time)12 December 197930 June 1981 Fianna Fáil
17. John Kelly [4] 30 June 198121 October 1981 Fine Gael
18. James Dooge 21 October 19819 March 1982 Fine Gael
19. Gerry Collins (1st time)9 March 198214 December 1982 Fianna Fáil
20. Peter Barry [5] 14 December 198210 March 1987 Fine Gael
Brian Lenihan (3rd time)10 March 198712 July 1989 Fianna Fáil
Gerry Collins (2nd time)12 July 198911 February 1992 Fianna Fáil
21. David Andrews (1st time)11 February 199212 January 1993 Fianna Fáil
22. Dick Spring (1st time)12 January 199317 November 1994 Labour Party
23. Albert Reynolds 18 November 199415 December 1994 Fianna Fáil
Dick Spring (2nd time)15 December 199426 June 1997 Labour Party
24. Ray Burke 26 June 19977 October 1997 Fianna Fáil
David Andrews (2nd time)8 October 199727 January 2000 Fianna Fáil
25. Brian Cowen 27 January 200029 September 2004 Fianna Fáil
26. Dermot Ahern 29 September 20047 May 2008 Fianna Fáil
27. Micheál Martin 7 May 200819 January 2011 Fianna Fáil
Brian Cowen (2nd time)19 January 20119 March 2011 Fianna Fáil

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade 2011–present

No.PortraitNameTerm of officeParty
28. Eamon Gilmore 9 March 201111 July 2014 Labour Party
29. Charles Flanagan 11 July 201414 June 2017 Fine Gael
30. Simon Coveney 14 June 2017Incumbent Fine Gael

See also


  1. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade: The Role of the Department
  2. On the first occasion he held the foreign affairs portfolio, Arthur Griffith's official title was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  3. Éamon de Valera, who was head of government (President of the Executive Council until 1937, renamed Taoiseach in 1937) served as his own foreign minister.
  4. When Garret FitzGerald formed a government in mid 1981 he announced that he would be appointing James Dooge to be a senator and once in office would make him minister. However as the appointment could not be made until Seanad Éireann's general election had taken place (which would be a few weeks), in the interim the Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism, John Kelly, would act as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
  5. When the Labour Party withdrew from cabinet in early 1987, a new interim cabinet, made up simply of the outgoing Fine Gael ministers, was formed. Peter Barry continued on as Foreign Minister in that short-lived Fine Gael cabinet.