Discover Third Secretary
and Development Specialist Opportunities

About the Role

A role as a Third Secretary or Development Specialist Officer within the Department of Foreign Affairs includes responsibilities across a number of areas, particularly public policy. This includes preparation of analysis and research papers, preparing briefing material for Ministers and senior officials, liaison with Irish Embassies, Consulates and other diplomatic offices abroad as well as Government departments and organisations.

This role includes work abroad so there will be a requirement to serve for

extended periods of time in a representative capacity in different countries. Successful candidates must therefore, have a high degree of adaptability, resilience and a commitment to work in foreign languages.

The day-to-day challenges of working in a mission abroad could range from organising high-level Irish Government visits, promoting trade, assisting Irish citizens in difficulties and managing mission budgets and development programmes.

Salary:  €33,053

Annual Leave:   25 Days

Location:   Dublin, Limerick, International

Opening Date:   18/09/2020

Closing Date:   08/10/2020

Discover Our People

Edith Delaney
Third Secretary Desk Officer

I studied Law and Business and qualified as a Solicitor before joining the Department of Foreign Affairs.

My role is so varied, supporting the management of our bilateral relationships with Anglophone and Lusophone, West Africa. It means keeping abreast of the political, economic, security, development and humanitarian situation and to prepare briefings. Recently we’ve been working closely with the team in Nigeria and preparing for Ireland’s tenure on the UN Security Council.

I also have an economic function to promote Ireland’s trade and economic objectives in Sub-Saharan Africa. In my first twelve months I visited both Nigeria and China in the course of my work.

I have learned so much about Ireland’s political, economic and cultural relationships with Africa, and how we contribute to peace, prosperity and sustainable development abroad. Soon, I’m moving to Indonesia to become Deputy Head of Mission at the Irish Embassy in Jakarta. All this after just two years.

Paul Deane
Deputy European Correspondent

Monthly meetings with the EU mean the Minister needs accurate and timely briefing materials. I coordinate and draft these, alongside other projects that fall under the EU’s common foreign and security policy. My division also has an impact and an input on business planning, performance metrics and strategy statements.

I only started working here in 2019 and since then I’ve been fortunate to work in some incredible roles and across some influential briefs.

My role has given me a fascinating vantage point to witness diplomacy in action.

I’ve been able to build relationships with so many different colleagues and learn about the work of sections different from my own. I’ve been able to learn so much in such a short timeframe about the impact and influence of Ireland’s foreign policy priorities.

Patrick Rooney
Private Secretary to the Secretary General

After a degree in Politics and Economics at UCD and an MSc in Management I joined the Corporate Services Division before taking on the role of Third Secretary. My current role involves leading and managing a team, coordinating the Secretary General’s diary, travel arrangements, correspondence and daily engagements.

I’ve worked with colleagues in over 90 missions across six continents, and this work has given me an insight into both

domestic and international policy making but my understanding has grown beyond just foreign policy. It’s the perfect career path for anyone with a significant interest in international relations.

Sally Bourne
Head of Customer Service, Passport Office

I studied Psychology at TCD and went on to do an MA in International Relations at DCU – so it’s little wonder I ended up working with people at the Passport Office.

I started as a Desk Officer, preparing briefings for meetings between Ireland and countries in South East Asia, writing policy documents and running events and consultations. Now I manage 13 teams of Customer Service Agents who deal with the public every second of their working day.

My first role gave me fantastic policy and writing experience, as well as an opportunity to work with foreign Embassies based in Dublin and London, as well as our own missions abroad. My current role is fantastic for management and mediation experience.


Candidates must have, on or before the 8th October 2020, the following:

  • Hold a first or second class honours degree (minimum of Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications)
  • Have qualified as a Solicitor or as a Barrister
  • Working knowledge of foreign languages, especially Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.
  • Experience of international relations, economic and trade promotion and development cooperation.

Successful applicants should be available to take up duty in early 2021.

Those under consideration for a position will be required to complete a health and character declaration. References will be sought. Some posts will require special security clearance and will require completion of a form for Garda vetting purposes. In the event of conflicts of interest, candidates may not be considered for certain posts.

This competition is only open to persons who have Irish Citizenship on or before the closing date of 8th October 2020.

Application and Recruitment Process

Prior to application, please review both the eligibility section within the Information booklet and review the Questionnaire within the Information booklet. Candidates should answer all statements in advance of proceeding with an application to ensure your interests, skills and expectations for the future match the challenging requirements of a role as a Third Secretary.

Please note, in parallel with the Third Secretary competition, a separate stream for Development Specialist Officer is being recruited for, using the same application. If applying for either of these, please ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements and submit only one application indicating the stream(s) you wish to be considered for. The onus is on the candidate to select the correct stream(s).

The application and recruitment process will follow the below listed steps. Depending on the number of applications received, the selection process may comprise of a number of other elements also.

Applications will not be accepted after the closing date.

Step One

Register on – please ensure to use your personal email address so we can contact you throughout all stages of the recruitment process.

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Step Two

Click "Apply Now" Third Secretary and/or Development Specialist Officer

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Step Three

Complete the application form (Web Form) before closing date 3pm on Thursday 8th October, 2020. Please ensure your candidate name, ID, and stream selection is correct before you submit.

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Step Four

View your completed application in the ‘My Applications’ tab on your profile.

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Step Five

Acknowledgment Receipt – You should receive an acknowledgement within 2 working days from when you submitted your application.

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Step Six

Stage 1 - Invitation to Online Assessment and completion of Assessment (Late October).

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Step Seven

Stage 2 - Invitation to Video Interview & completion of Video Interview (Early November).

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Step Eight

Stage 3 - Invitation to Assessment Centre (Zoom) and completion (Late November)

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Step Nine

Stage 4 - Invitation to Assessment Centre (Zoom) and completion (Early December)

Information Booklet

For more in-depth information about the role, please read the Information Booklet prior to applying for this role.

Frequently Asked Questions