Links between Brazil & Ireland




Ireland’s first consular representation in Brazil


By Neyda P. Villela, Former Honorary Vice-Consul of Ireland, Rio de Janeiro




The first Irish representation in Brazil was opened in 1964 with the appointment of Michael H. Sieyes as Honorary Consul.  Michael Sieyes held this post until his retirement, as Honorary Consul General, with jurisdiction over the whole of Brazil.  Until his appointment there was only the Irish Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for an area as extensive as Latin America !


Michael Sieyes’ ancestors came from County Donegal, although he himself was not born in Ireland.  He was a long time resident of Brazil, and at the time of his appointment he held the position of Financial Director of Cia. T. Janér, a large paper distributing company in Rio de Janeiro, where the Consulate was installed and functioned until late 1985.  The company had branches in several other states of the country, and this gave the Irish scattered in Brazil’s northern and southern states the unique opportunity of having their consular documents promptly forwarded to the head-office through the company’s internal mail service.


In 1965, Neyda Pinto Villela was appointed Hononary Vice-Consul, and exercised that position for 24 consecutive years.


On Michael Sieyes´ retirement and consequent return to Europe in 1970, the post was offered to Lars W. Janér, President of the Janér Company, as a way to maintain the status quo.  Mr. Janér was a naturalised Brazilian, who although not very familiar with Ireland and the Irish Community in Brazil, discharged his duties to the best of his ability and with extreme generosity.  It is remembered that the Consulate-General of Ireland operated at his company’s premises for over 25 years, and use was made of the Janér facilities as required, as well as its personnel.


With the untimely death of Mr. Janér in 1985, Paul Crean was nominated for the position, which for the first time was held by an Irishman.