Ireland’s expansion of its consular network throughout the Southeast U.S. as it prioritizes the region is set to continue with the proposed appointment of an honorary consul in Nashville.
The Consulate General of Ireland in Atlanta, which covers Tennessee, is seeking “expressions of interest” for the volunteer position that will promote the country’s economic interests and provide consular services to Irish citizens within the state of 7 million people.
The move comes less than a year after Ireland opened a consulate in Miami. The country also has a Consulate General in Austin, Texas, an office created in 2014, four years after Ireland picked Atlanta for its first new consulate in the U.S. in 75 years.
While hosting a steady parade of top officials from the Irish government over the last year, Consul General Caoimhe Ni Chonchuir has said that Ireland has been calibrating its diplomatic presence to match the South’s ascendancy in business and politics. The Atlanta consulate’s staff has grown to five people. Honorary consuls have been appointed in South Carolina (Charleston) and North Carolina (Charlotte). See the full list of honorary consuls
For the Tennessee position, the candidate will at minimum be a Nashville resident with the ability to provide services during weekdays at a “suitable premises.”
The consulate also seeks a representative who also displays familiarity with the government and administrative systems in Tennessee as well as a history of involvement with the local Irish community, according to a posting on the consulate’s website.
Ineligible for the role are government officials, those with “real, apparent or potential conflicts of interest” and those unable to offer consular services due to other commitments, as well as those who are “politically active,” a term that is not defined in the posting. (As with career diplomats, honorary consuls are often expected to present themselves as politically neutral and open to working with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.)
The honorary position is unpaid, but the representative will receive a yearly honorarium of €1,125 and will retain half of consular fees collected.
Expressions of interest are due May 10. After those come in, the consulate will narrow the list of candidates and ask for at least two written references and the completion of a variety of forms, including a security vetting form.
The resulting appointee must be approved by the Irish foreign ministry and the U.S. State Department.
The Dean Rusk International Law Center at the University of Georgia is the presenting sponsor of Global Atlanta's Diplomacy Channel. Subscribe here for monthly Diplomacy newsletters.