His Excellency Mr. Dermot Brangan, whose grandmother hailed from Ballymahon, Co. Longford, is Ireland’s current Ambassador to Finland. Dermot, whose maternal grandmother was Dowdall from Ballymahon Co. Longford, studied economics in Trinity College, Dublin. After leaving college, he began working with the Department of Agriculture. Two years later, in 1977, Mr Brangan moved on to the Department of Foreign Affairs and has been working with them since, travelling the length and breadth of the globe for his work.
Two years after his appointment, Mr Brangan took on his first overseas post in Madrid where he dealt with problems faced by the Irish in Madrid, such as lost money or passports and even death. After his term in Madrid had finished, Mr Brangan moved back to work in the Department of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Dublin for three years before taking up another post in Australia doing press work.
In 1991, Mr Brangan became the Press Officer for the Irish Government in New York, where he largely dealt with Northern Ireland due to ongoing events at that time. Upon his return to Ireland in 1997, Mr Brangan continued to work with issues regarding Northern Ireland – including the Good Friday agreement and its implementation. From 1999-2002 Mr Brangan was joint secretary of the International Fund for Ireland, where he worked again with the Northern Counties, and the border counties “dealing with how in Northern Ireland we could work together, and by working together, come together.”
Mr Brangan’s next post was as Head of the Press Section in the Department of Foreign Affairs for two years, where he worked with then Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen. During his time there, Mr Brangan ran the presidency press operation and travelled with Minister Cowen while preparing abroad for the presidency. It was an interesting time for that particular job, Mr Brangan explained, due to situations occurring at that time, such as the events in Northern Ireland and of course the Iraq War.
Washington was Mr Brangan’s next destination, working with the Irish Embassy before becoming Irish Ambassador to Mexico in 2005. As well as Ambassador to Mexico, Mr Brangan was also Ambassador of a number of other small countries including Venezuela, El Salvador and Columbia.
After 4 years in Mexico, Mr Brangan was appointed Ambassador for Finland – a small embassy with only 2 diplomats, where his jobs are far from limited. He explains: “When you have a small embassy everyone does a bit of everything.”
Mr Brangan’s term as Ambassador will end this summer, when he will return to the Department of Foreign Affairs. Speaking about his impending return, Mr Brangan says; “It gets harder to return the longer you’re out. Once you settle and build up a circle of friends you don’t want to leave.” He finishes by adding: “We have always kept a home in Ireland and we go back as often as we can.”