Irish ambassador Diarmuid O’Leary and wife Emma are heading to Tokyo
Photo: Steve Eastwood
Diplomacy: Three stalwarts of the diplomatic community bade farewell to Luxembourg at a reception hosted by the Polish ambassador on Wednesday afternoon.
Photo: Steve Eastwood
Finnish ambassador Marja Lehto, Danish ambassador Louise Bang Jespersen and Irish ambassador Diarmuid O’Leary were the guests of honour at a reception hosted by their Polish colleague Bartosz Jałowiecki at his residence in Pulvermühle on Wednesday afternoon. All three ambassadors are leaving their posts in Luxembourg over the summer.
Lehto, who preceded Jałowiecki as doyen of the local diplomatic corps, is returning to Helsinki after five years representing Finland in the Grand Duchy. Jespersen is heading to Brussels, where she will represent her country in Belgium and at EU level, as well as continue to cover Luxembourg as the Danish embassy here closes down. O’Leary is off to a more exotic positing, as he will become chief of mission at the Irish embassy in Tokyo.
Jałowiecki reflected on the careers of the three departing diplomats, and particularly thanked Lehto for the good job she did during her two-year tenure as doyenne. Lehto responded in kind, and recalled the words of a fellow ambassador who said upon her arrival in Luxembourg five years ago: “if you need a break, and you probably do, this is the right place to come.”
Lehto concurred that Luxembourg was a relatively easy posting, but a fascinating one nonetheless. But she emphasized that the job has become more difficult during the economic crisis, when diplomatic missions are expected to perform more and more efficiently as budget cuts take their toll.
Those cuts and a restructuring of Danish embassies around the world means that Jespersen is the last Danish ambassador to serve her country in the Grand Duchy--the embassy closes down as she leaves. But she praised the tight diplomatic community in Luxembourg and insisted that she will continue to meet them and visit Luxembourg in her new role in Brussels. “So I am not saying goodbye, but bis geschwënn,” she said.
O’Leary confessed to being apprehensive about the job, rather than Luxembourg, when he arrived to take up his first post as ambassador. “I was one of a group of pioneers of the single diplomat mission model,” he explained. “But the diplomatic corps took me under its wing. It is a very collegiate feeling amongst us.”