More than €1.65 million in “hardship” allowances for Department of Foreign Affairs staff over past two years

Diplomats at the Department of Foreign Affairs have been paid more than €1.65 million in so-called “hardship” allowances over the past two years.

The allowances are paid for international postings in cities including Beijing, Moscow, and Buenos Aires.

The rate is calculated based on the level of hardship in each place, with different cities ranked from A to E according to attractiveness and dangers at the location.

Most cities in the European Union are not ranked at all with only the Bulgarian capital of Sofia given the lightest ranking of E, according to Department of Foreign Affairs records.

An information note from the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “Hardship allowance is paid at certain missions to compensate officers for the level of hardship at a post. The amount payable depends on the level of hardship.

“Hardship allowances are designed to take into account a number of factors at designated locations including climate, health, air pollution, language and culture, goods and services, isolation, social network and leisure, housing, utilities and education, personal security and political tension.”

The Department said they were calculated based on independently sourced data and were the subject of review every year.