AFTER completing a nine year term as Irish Ambassador to Nigeria and Brazil, Seán Hoy is looking forward to embarking on a ‘new challenge’ at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
Earlier this month, the Monea man and his wife Susan said ‘Adeus’ (goodbye) to the people of Brazil and his focus now turns to working for the Irish Government at St Stephen’s Green.
“I’m been very honoured to have had the opportunity to represent my country in difficult places and in difficult times,” said 59-year-old Seán
“I’ll now be working on opportunities (from Dublin) that allow my experiences over the past nine years to help our missions overseas.
“It is very positive that through my experiences, I can bring them back and put them into some form of a learning context,” added the father of three.
In 2018, the Fermanagh man was appointed the fifth Irish ambassador to Brazil. His time in South American was a difficult one, as the country was ravaged by Covid-19, with over 704,000 deaths.
“It was a challenge for everyone in the world. The airlines closed down in Brazil and we had to get a lot of people home and help people on cruise liners in South America try and get back,” explained Seán.
“During Covid, we were surprised by how many (Irish) people were living in Brazil. There was so many there, even in the Amazon, but we didn’t know they were there until Covid happened.”
As ambassador, Sean’s role in Brazil and Nigeria was to ensure the safety of the Irish people. He also was responsible for helping their businesses prosper and grow, as well as promoting Irish culture overseas.
In March, the Fermanagh man was at the helm as the Irish Embassy organised and held the biggest ever St Patrick’s Day festival in Brazil.
“We celebrated St Patrick’s Day in three different cities, in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Brazilia, and we were able to get a Minister (Sean Fleming) out and make it special,” said Seán.
“Whenever I was leaving Brazil, people was still talking those events as being a little different to what others were like before. It’s always nice to get that positive feedback.”
Reflecting on his time in Brazil, Seán recalls travelling to the Amazon, along with his son Tom, where he experienced a unique and special culture from the natives there.
“We met with some of the indigenous communities and that was very satisfactory to be able to support people with no electricity and lived like they did almost 100 years ago,” recalled the Monea man.
“Living in the Amazon, the people don’t need clothes. They just have the minimum to keep decent. It’s not that those people are poor though, they just make their choice.
“We were able to sleep there in hammocks in the forest and that’s a real unique opportunity to experience that,” said Seán.
At his farewell party in Brazil, Seán received the honorary ‘Order of Merit of Anhanguera’ award. He leaves Brazil with a heavy heart, but he’s looking forward to his new career in Dublin.
“We are coming back to Ireland at a different time than we left, but it’s good to be healthy and positive and to look forward to a new challenge in Dublin and be a part of something else.”
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