Statement by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr David Andrews, T.D.,Failed Armed Robbery at Irish Embassy, Lagos.
"The Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Joe Lynch, reported on 19 July last, to the head of the Department's administration division, that on Saturday 17 July an attempted armed robbery had occurred at his official residence. When this report was brought to my attention I immediately ordered a review of security measures at the Embassy. While it is important that the public should be made aware of such incidents, my primary concern was for the safety of the Ambassador and his family.
"I understand that the security on the perimeter of Embassy is provided by an elite Nigerian police unit, which provides security to all Embassies in Lagos and Abuja, including the Israeli and US Embassies. In the wake of this incident the perimeter security was upgraded, as was the physical security within the Embassy compound.
"Irish diplomats, along with their colleagues from all countries, realise that on occasion they may have to serve in posts where personal security is difficult; I recall that staff at the Irish Embassy in Beijing had to be relocated to hotels earlier this year when violence broke out there. Our diplomatic staff have never flinched from such situations and I would like to pay tribute to them for this. I have visited many Irish Embassies in my political career and I can say that regardless of where they are posted and what conditions they endure Irish diplomats perform their role with immense professionalism.
"Nigeria is a country with which Ireland has many ties; long before the Irish Embassy was established there Irish missionaries had a strong presence and this presence continues, in Nigeria and throughout the region. Nigeria is also an important regional power and is the only country in West Africa where we have an Embassy. It is vital therefore that the Embassy be maintained there, not least to assist in the protection of Irish citizens.
"Thankfully incidents like this are rare and neither Ambassador , his spouse nor the security escort came to any harm. The safety of our diplomats and their families is a matter of primary concern for the Department. We will continue to monitor the situation in Nigeria and further security measures will be put in place if it is deemed necessary."