Fermanagh man is new ambassador to Brazil

AN ENNISKILLEN man is to become the new Ambassador of Ireland to Brazil.
Sean Hoy has been Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, as well as to the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana, for the past for four years. From December 1st he will take up a new position as ambassador to the largest country in South America.
It’s the latest chapter in an illustrious international career for the Fermanagh man, which began in famine-torn Sudan in 1985 when he was just 21-years-old. Having graduated with a degree in agriculture, Sean wasted little time in putting his skills to use, taking up a role in the country with Concern, a charity his late father Eamonn was heavily involved with here at home.
Sean went on to join the Department of Foreign Affairs, kicking off the start of his diplomatic adventures taking him from Mozambique to Uganda and Vietnam. He was appointed Ambassador to Nigeria in September 2014.
Sean said the country of 190 million had strong long-held links to Ireland.
“Lots of Nigerians were educated by missionaries and they have a very strong affiliation with Ireland,” he said. “Ireland didn’t go there trying to extract oil or anything else. Our interest was one way, this was a country becoming independent and knowing it needed a lot of support.”
Far from Ferroro Rocher and champagne receptions, Sean is kept busy, with the job involving a lot of travelling.
“It is hands on,” said Sean. “There’s a lot of things happening here. Like any other place, the longer you’re here the more you do because the more people you know.
“We have consular work, which is protecting Irish citizens, and we’ve economic work, which is helping build trade development.”
As well as travelling and working to ensure the protection of Irish citizens in the region, Sean and the Irish team also monitor the security situation in the country, visit camps where those displaced by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram live, and are active in trying to open dialogue between parties to the conflict.
When he takes up his new position in Brazil in September, Sean will face a new set of challenges. The biggest country in South America, the country is nine times larger than Nigeria, and 100 times bigger than Ireland.
“My job will be representing Ireland’s interest with the 190 million people in Brazil. We’ve big trade interests, as everybody does, and it’s a part of the world that is growing quickly and is an emerging economy,” he said.
“Exciting places to be are not always easy,” he added.