Irish foreign policy grab bag

The first is drugs; the second and third are not sex and rock and roll.  Maybe next week.

  • With Colombian drug-trafficking networks increasingly eyeing Ireland’s south-west coast as attractive real estate to land cocaine for transshipment on to Britain and Northern Europe, the Gardaí and Irish Navy have become Europe’s frontline against narcotraffic.  In this they’re supported by an EU anti-trafficking centre, in which Ireland has taken part since 2007. Success in one corner has led to headaches in another: when one operation seized €700m of cocaine at sea, Dublin gangland bloodied up when Irish mafias had to scrounge to pay their Colombian suppliers for it.   Watch the Guardian‘s Henry McDonald filming Irish anti-drug naval ninjas today from aboard LÉ Eithne.
  • Micheál Martin is in Vienna on Wednesday to launch Ireland’s four-month chairing of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation; in 2012, Ireland will chair the OSCE.  It is expected Martin will focus his speech – and next four months – on disarmament, in attempt to capitalise on Ireland’s record from the Dublin Convention on cluster munitions.  The 2012 job was recompense-tanistry to a nice European neutral after the headship of the human rights body passed to Kazakhstan in  2010;  Lithuania for 2011 was uncontroversial.
  • On Monday, Irish Aid released its annual report detailing its activities in the previous year.  Even when no longer noveau riche, Ireland has remained per capita the seventh most generous aid donor in the world, with 0.54 per cent of GNP going to overseas development.  80 per cent of funding has gone to sub-Saharan Africa.   20 per cent of the €722m  budget (you have to flip to the back pages to get the numbers) is directed through non-profits.  Sources in DFA tip Peter Power as one to watch, already heading Irish Aid in his second term as a deputy.