Wednesday 17 October 2018

The excellent honour of ambassador suits you, sir

Charles Lysaght

THE British Ambassador, Stewart Eldon, is to leave Dublin shortly for another posting. Almost uniquely for British ambassadors here, he is leaving after a full term without being knighted. Mr Eldon has been given another important post as ambassador to NATO. So it is clearly no reflectionon his performance here that he has not yet been made Sir Stewart.

But it may have a broader significance in British-Irish relations as an indication of the priority accorded to Ireland by the British Foreign Office and their role in British-Irish relations.

There was a time when every British ambassador was at least a knight the world over. Nothing less was good enough for the man who represented His or Her Britannic Majesty and took precedence over every other British subject in the country where he was accredited. The envy of civil servants in other government departments towards the diplomatic service (not a uniquely British phenomenon) led to these knighthoods being rationed.

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