From “The Island of Malta and the Ireland of Malta,” Malta’s Ambassador to Ireland tells Irish Stew of the unexpected connections between the island nations of Ireland and Malta, especially for his hometown of Floriana.
Ambassador Giovanni Buttigieg traces the Irish connection back to an 1895 visit to Floriana by an Irish Cardinal who went to Rome to advocate for the sainthood of one of their own, and a 1905 football match when the Royal Dublin Fusiliers gave the Floriana side their green and white striped jerseys, colors the Floriana Irish, as they are still known, wear to this day.
The ambassador relates how football helped renew the Irish connections when Malta “turned green” as thousands of Irish fans set up base camp for flights to Sicily for the 1990 World Cup matches there. The Irish have been coming back ever since as tourists who fill Malta-bound planes to capacity.
He tells of his time as Consul for Malta in New York and as Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations, how reading an Irish poem a day prepared him for his dream posting to Dublin, presenting his diplomatic credentials to President Michael D. Higgins, Ireland and Malta’s shared legacy of British colonial rule, whether he is related to that other Buttigieg…and why he likes Irish weather.
Ambassador Giovanni Buttigieg— “Maltese by birth, Irish by the grace of God.”
H.E. Giovanni Buttigieg, was appointed Ambassador to Ireland in February 2022.
During his term as Deputy Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations in New York in 2017-2022, Mr Buttigieg served as Chair of the UN Committee for Programme and Coordination, and was responsible for Malta’s Vice-Presidency of the UN General Assembly, and its elected membership of ECOSOC.
In the previous seven years he served at the European Commission – League of Arab States Liaison Office, developing a number of initiatives between the two institutions. He was also an international electoral observer in some twenty countries on all continents.
Between 2013 and 2016 Mr. Buttigieg was Secretary and Advisor to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Taskforce.
He worked at the Malta Council for Science and Technology between 1992-2010, focussing on science diplomacy and popularisation of technology.
Giovanni Buttigieg obtained a Masters in Contemporary Diplomacy from DiploFoundation, a post-graduate diploma in Museology from Masaryk University, and an Honours Degree in Engineering from the University of Malta.