5 questions to… Erin Swan, Deputy Head of Mission at Embassy of Ireland in the Czech Republic
Erin Swan arrived in Prague in August 2019. This is her first posting with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Until then, she worked on International Security Policy issues in DFA Headquarters, Dublin.
Erin has studied languages, literature, and translation. She loves to travel and to read.
Q: Do you like living in Prague?
A: Yes, very much although unfortunately almost half of my time here has been spent in lockdown! One of the favorite things about Prague is the abundance of beautiful parks and green areas in the city center, it's been wonderful to have so much nature on the doorstep during the lockdown. When I arrived in August, I really enjoyed the lively cultural and social scene in Prague. Sadly, it is more difficult to network and meet people in the current situation but, like everyone, I’m looking forward to Prague coming back to life in 2021!
Q: What is your role at the Irish Embassy?
A: My role at the Embassy is varied and never dull! With the support of a great team of colleagues, I coordinate the consular assistance and support the Embassy provides to Irish citizens living in the Czech Republic, Irish visitors here, and also people who want to visit Ireland. I attend Government meetings here in Prague to ensure Ireland’s values and interests are represented, particularly on EU issues. The Embassy also engages with local educational and cultural institutions to expand the knowledge of Irish culture and heritage. It's always a pleasure to get involved with local Irish communities such as CIBCA and the local GAA team, Prague Hibernians on the many excellent events and initiatives they run.
We are living in exceptional times. Ireland is very interested to learn from the Czech response to COVID and part of my role is making sure my colleagues in Dublin are up to date with all the latest developments here in the Czech Republic.
Although it is not possible to meet in person lately, at the Embassy we are always delighted to hear from Irish people or those with an interest in Ireland: we are always happy to help in any way we can.
We have been busy making sure we have the most up to date advice available for Irish and Czech citizens.
Q: You mentioned the Irish citizens who get in contact with the Embassy. What are the most frequent requests you have received in 2020?
A: Unsurprisingly this year we have had a lot of queries related to traveling to and from Ireland and the Czech Republic for essential reasons. Flights have been canceled, borders closed, and entry requirements changing frequently. We have been busy making sure we have the most up to date advice available for Irish and Czech citizens.
Q: What are the benefits of an Irish company to start a business in The Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic has a fascinating and rich history with many important events in living memory, from the Velvet Revolution in 1989 to joining the EU in 2004. It is a country built on industry and innovation. The Czech people are hard-working, highly educated and also have a great sense of humor, so we have a lot in common!! It is one of the most innovative countries in the EU and fast developing a reputation as a leader in digital technologies. Lots of Irish companies have established business in CZ, and many are represented by colleagues in Enterprise Ireland who have their offices next door to the Embassy.
Q: Do you see Prague in your future?
A: For at least another 2 years and I’ll always come back for the svíčková!! ;)