Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has officially opened Ireland's Consulate General in the US city of Miami.

The diplomatic mission covers a number of Carribean Island nations, as well as the US states of Florida, Alabama and Mississippi.

An opening address at the Sustainable Development Goals summit on Monday, and a statement to the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow, meant the Taoiseach had time to leave New York for the official opening of Ireland’s newest mission.

The Miami Consulate General is in one of the most populous US states and is part of the growing economic importance of the southeast of the country.

It is Ireland’s eighth diplomatic office in the US, all of which report to the Irish Embassy in Washington.

However, Miami is also an important city for Latin America and the Carribean and the new Consulate General is part of an expansion of Ireland’s diplomatic presence in the region.

In 2019, new embassies were opened in Chile and Colombia, with the embassy in Bogota also hosting a garda liaison officer.

An office for central America, opened this year at the Irish Embassy in Mexico, has resulted in more diplomatic contact with countries such as Honduras and El Salvador.

Miami will be a new base for strengthening diplomatic links with 16 Carribean states, many of which backed Ireland’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council three years ago.