More than €2 million in hardship payments for diplomats posted abroad

The Department of Foreign Affairs has paid out more than €2 million in so-called “hardship” payments to diplomats serving overseas during the past two years.

The “hardship postings” are calculated based on the challenges of living in certain cities with payments made to mandarins serving in world capitals like Moscow, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, and even the Bulgarian capital Sofia.

Figures released under FOI show that €1.18 million was paid out to 162 diplomats last year, or an average of around €6,900 per person.

That figure was up 17% on 2021 when 154 different staff shared hardship payments of €955,770, or roughly €6,200 a head.

Embassies and missions are broken down into five separate categories from A to E, with an A listing considered the most onerous of locations by the department.

There were three cities classified as A postings last year by the department, all in Africa: Monrovia in Liberia, Freetown in Sierra Leone, and Abuja in Nigeria.

Payments totalling just over €128,000 were made to twelve diplomats working in those cities last year, or around €10,700 each.

Five cities were categorised with a B ranking by the department, Jakarta in Indonesia, Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Ramallah in Palestine, Maputo in Mozambique, and the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Hardship payments of around €190,000 were paid to nineteen officials of the department serving in those cities in 2022, roughly €10,000 per person.

Cities ranked C last year included Beijing in China, Kyiv in Ukraine, New Delhi in India, and the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Kyiv had in 2021 been ranked D by the department but its hardship level was upgraded because of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.