Ireland to shut Vatican embassy in financial crisis cost overhaul

By Reuters Staff
November 3, 2011

Ireland will close its embassy to the Vatican, one of the Catholic country’s oldest missions, as part of a cost-cutting programme prompted by the country’s EU-IMF bailout.

Relations between the Irish government and the Vatican, once traditional allies, are at an all-time low over the Church’s handling of sex abuse cases. But Eamon Gilmore, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, denied the embassy closure was linked.

“That was not a consideration,” Gilmore told state broadcaster RTE on Thursday. “Our diplomatic relations with the Vatican will continue and they are valued.”

The Vatican recalled its ambassador to Ireland in July after Prime Minister Enda Kenny accused the Holy See of obstructing investigations into sexual abuse by priests.

Gilmore said he did not expect the Vatican now to close its mission in Dublin.

“The fact that we have chosen to close our mission in the Vatican and to have it serviced from Dublin doesn’t necessarily mean that we won’t have a Papal Nuncio here,” he said.

Ireland is closing three embassies as part of the overhaul, including missions in Iran and Timor Leste, which will save the country 1.25 million euros (862 thousand) a year.

In a statement, Gilmore said: “While the Embassy to the Holy See is one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yields no economic return.  The Government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident Ambassador.  The Government will be seeking the agreement of the Holy See to the appointment of a senior diplomat to this position.”

via Ireland to shut Vatican embassy in cost overhaul | Reuters.

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2 comments

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As a practicing Catholic in communion with the Pope I am saddened by the closing of the Irish govt’embassy at the Vatican. Mr Gimore’s reasoning: The Vatican” yieds No economic return”. I did not know the Holy See was a commercial business entity ! Furthermore,to include Iran and Timor as the other places being closed together with the Vatican spiritual home for 1.2 billion persons world-wide is offensive. I’m sure many Catholics includes the Irish brethen will strongly urge the Irish Govt. to re-consider this travesty.

Posted by colombo | Report as abusive

Colombo
If you imagine the majority of Irish citizens want any future connection with the church of Rome think again.
If it’s “travesty” you want take a look at the church’s behaviour, and yes I regret to inform you the church is in fact, first and foremost “a commercial business entity” and always has been.
grow up

Posted by ainegalway | Report as abusive