Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Peter Clifford from An Garda Síochána to give some advice for people considering this job:


Peter Clifford

Probationer Garda

An Garda Síochána

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  Peter Clifford
To get physically fit for the entrance tests and also for the demanding physical nature of the job. Also I would tell people to enjoy themselves before they join as it’s a job for at least 30 years.

I would also informl people about the variety of avenues people can get into when they have completed their training. There really is a career for every person regardless of where their interests lie. There is so many specialised units and prospects.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Civil Service - Third Secretary

Job Zone

Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

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Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

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Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€27k > 49 
Civil Service - Third Secretary
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€27 - 49 
Related Information:
Data Source(s):

Last Updated: April, 2015

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

This role involves advising the government on Ireland's external relations and being the official communication channel for foreign governments and international organisations.

Videos & Interviews header image

1Total Records: 2

Jennifer Bourke
Third Secretary - Press Officer  

Jennifer Bourke is a Third Secretary Press Officer in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Her work involves liaising with journalists on press queries, planning events and campaigns and leading the departments social media presence. 

Go to Interview  
Fiona Devlin
3rd Secretary  

Fiona is currently working in the Legal Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. After completing a law degree in Trinity College and a masters in Edinburgh, she worked in the Embassy of Ireland to the Netherlands for two years, as Liaison Officer for International Organisations

Go to Interview  

The Work header image

Third Secretaries are initially assigned, for about 2 or 3 years, to a range of responsibilities in the headquarters of the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. During this period, under the guidance of experienced colleagues, they are involved in aspects of the work of a number of divisions (Political, EU, Overseas Development Aid, Foreign Earnings, and Anglo-Irish).  
They also receive on-the-job training in such areas as the preparation of analysis and research papers; drafting of briefing material for the Minister and for EU meetings; liaison with Irish missions abroad and with other Government Departments.  
On being posted to an Irish Embassy or Consulate abroad, the Third Secretary will become involved in many aspects of the mission's activities, particularly such areas as the provision of consular assistance to Irish citizens; assisting Irish business contacts in local markets and generally in the promotion of foreign earnings; trade and economic reporting to the Department in Dublin; providing information on Ireland and briefing the foreign press on Irish affairs.


Personal Qualitiesheader image

A Third Secretary can expect to divide his/her time between service in the Department in Dublin and in over 40 Irish missions abroad. Graduates are required with the skills to undertake the demanding and varying responsibilities of the position and also demonstrate that they have the potential to represent Ireland abroad and to progress to the most senior positions of the diplomatic service.  
For this reason, a high level of academic attainment is required (first or second class honours degree or Solicitor/Barrister qualification).  
Candidates are also expected to demonstrate a wide range of skills and qualities in the course of the selection process. In order to be effective in the role of a Third Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs, you will need to be:-

  • able to produce thorough and comprehensive evaluations of a complex situation, and suggest practical recommendations for action
  • highly capable of planning projects in detail and anticipating problems
  • adept at co-ordinating your own duties/workload and that of others, to ensure accurate project delivery to deadlines
  • excellent at communicating in a clear and accurate manner (either written or verbal) while making every effort to fully understand information received from others
  • very comfortable at building and maintaining good relationships with a wide range of people, so that cooperation can be maximised and conflict minimised
  • strong at presenting a position and persuading others of its benefit
  • prepared to take personal responsibility for completing work and to put forward solutions to problems
  • willing to apply full energy and commitment to fulfilling your own role within Foreign Affairs
  • interested in Irish public affairs and in international relations

Entry Routesheader image

The key entry level grades for graduates in the Civil Service include the Executive Officer, the Administrative Officer and the Third Secretary in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other professional roles such as Statistician, Economist and many more.


Competitions held by the Public Appointments Service are advertised on 

Last Updated: April, 2015

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Organisation: Public Appointments Service
  Address: Chapter House, 26/30 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1
  Tel: (01) 858 7400 or Locall: 1890 44 9999
  Email: Click here
  Url Click here


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...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Civil & Public Service, Local Government, Politics & EU

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