Relations between Switzerland and Ireland have traditionally been good. Both countries pursue similar interests in human rights policy. The two countries also maintain lively cultural exchanges.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Ireland
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
With regard to multilateral issues, Switzerland and Ireland are often among the like-minded states. The consistent and lasting protection of human rights is a foreign policy priority for both countries.
The Irish economy has been recovering steadily since 2014 thanks to increasing export growth after the financial crisis. In 2016, Ireland was the fastest growing EU economy. Trade between Switzerland and Ireland amounted to around CHF 8.6 billion in 2016. Switzerland has long run a high trade deficit with Ireland. The main goods categories are bulk chemicals, pharmaceutical products and machinery.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Ireland can apply for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).
Due to a lack of reciprocity, scholarships will no longer be awarded as of the academic year 2019/2020.
Swiss nationals in Ireland
According to the Statistics on the Swiss Abroad, 1618 Swiss nationals were living in Ireland at the end of 2018.
There are strong cultural ties between the two countries. A number of Swiss writers and artists live and work in Ireland. The Swiss embassy in Dublin and Pro Helvetia support numerous cultural events with Swiss participation in Ireland, including film, music and literature festivals.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland opened a consulate general in Dublin in 1934 which was attached to the Swiss embassy in London. A Swiss legation was opened in Dublin in 1939 and a Swiss embassy in 1962. Ireland has had a diplomatic representation in Switzerland since 1940, which was headed by a chargé d'affaires until 1954 and by a minister until 1962, when it was upgraded to an embassy. The courtesy visit by Irish President Sean T. O'Kelly during his stay in Switzerland in 1956 was a milestone in Irish-Swiss relations.