Dr. Eamonn McKee became Ambassador of Ireland to Canada in October 2020. He virtually presented his credentials to the Governor General, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, on the 13th of October 2020. The Embassy of Ireland is also accredited to Jamaica and the Bahamas.
I am honoured and delighted to serve as Ireland’s Ambassador to Canada. Representing Ireland here in this great country is both an honour and a privilege. Canada rightly takes pride in its commitment to rights and fundamental freedoms and to the values of international order and the rule of international law.
Ireland and Canada share long, complex and intense relationships with Britain, relationships that have evolved and changed over the years to the point now of genuine partnership.
Both Ireland and Canada enjoy close and productive relations with the United States today, against an historical background where Irish emigrants in both countries played key and often decisive roles in politics, society, business and culture.
The depth of Irish heritage in Canada, the contribution of the Irish to the development of Canada as a society and as state, the deep ties and vibrant relations today between Ireland and Canada provide a rich and enriching agenda for all of the team here at the Embassy in Ottawa and at the Consulate in Vancouver.
Building on their great work, and that of my predecessors, I hope to enhance and expand our relations, culturally, socially, intellectually, and economically.
People-to-people contacts have increased enormously between Ireland and Canada in recent years, boosted by renewed emigration, the opportunities afforded to Ireland by EU membership and CETA, and the increased number of political visits in each direction.
I know all of us in Team Ireland, including our colleagues in Enterprise Ireland and the IDA based in Toronto, will continue to build and expand on this renewed relationship in the years to come. In that effort, we have the enormous support of our seven Honorary Consuls and the tremendously vibrant Irish community across Canada.
Economic relations between Ireland and Canada have also blossomed. CETA promises even greater advances as that Agreement beds in and its opportunities are seized. This will be vitally important work for both Canada and Ireland as we wrestle to bring about economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
I am looking forward to travelling across Canada when opportunity allows and to meeting all of our friends, partners, and communities. With almost one in seven Canadians boasting Irish heritage, I know this will be no mean feat, but I look forward to meeting and communicating with as many of you as possible.
In the meantime, in this brave new world of Zoom calls and digital outreach, I hope to find ways to virtually engage with your communities, and look forward to doing so.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you well in these difficult times and to hope that you and your families stay safe and well.
Ambassador of Ireland to Canada
Note: With thanks to Samuel Garcia of The Hill Times for the photo of Ambassador McKee.
I graduated from UCD with a degree in history (modern Irish) and economics in 1982, followed by a Ph.D. from the National University of Ireland in 1987 for a thesis on Irish economic policy, 1939 to 1952.
I joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1986 and worked in Anglo-Irish Division, which would become the focus for my work for the following twenty years, including for six years at the Embassy Washington from 1990 to 1996. Professionally, Washington was incredibly fulfilling, involving as it did engagement with Congress on immigration reform and with the Clinton White House on the emerging Northern Ireland Peace Process. Professional and personal life crossed when I met Congressman Bruce Morrison’s legislative staffer, Mary Rae McGillis while lobbying for Irish visas. Ireland got the visas and I got a wife and later three wonderful children.
I served twice more in Anglo-Irish Division focused on security issues, including Bloody Sunday, contentious parades, policing and confidence in the rule of law, the use of lethal force, the Cory process and criminal justice reform. I was honoured to be a member of the Irish Government’s talks team that negotiated the Good Friday Agreement and was later involved in its implementation on the policing and justice agenda. I served for two years as press officer at the Consulate General New York.
From 2004 I served in Irish Aid (on the emergency humanitarian side), as UN Director and founding Director of the Conflict Resolution Unit. I served as Ambassador to Seoul (2009-13) and Israel (2013-2015). I took up duty as Director General, Trade and Promotion Division in August 2015.
I have been blogging for a number of years, drawing inspiration from the countries to which I have been posted but mainly from my interests which are predominantly Ireland and our history. You can find them on my website: www.eamonncmckee.com