Irish Embassy in Vatican to close.

On 2011-11-03, in News, by Paddy

The Government has decided to close Ireland’s embassies to the Vatican and Iran as well as its representative office in Timor Leste.
In a statement this evening, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said that the decision followed a review of overseas missions carried out by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which gave “particular attention to the economic return from bilateral missions”.
Mr Gilmore said that the Government was obliged to implement cuts to meet targets set out in the EU/IMF rescue programme.
He said the closure of the three embassies would save around €1.25 million a year.
He said that while the embassy to the Holy See was one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yielded no economic return, and that Ireland’s interests could be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador.
He said the Government will be seeking the agreement of the Holy See to the appointment of a senior diplomat to this position.
Speaking this evening, Mr Gilmore said the closure of the embassy in the Holy See was not related to the recalling of the Papal Nuncio from Ireland earlier this year.
The Tánaiste said the Government would not be selling Villa Spada, the Irish embassy in the Vatican. Instead, staff working in embassy to Italy in Rome, which is a rented premises, will be transferred to Villa Spada.
Responding to the decision, the Primate of Ireland said he wished to express his “profound disappointment” at the closure.
“This decision seems to show little regard for the important role played by the Holy See in international relations and of the historic ties between the Irish people and the Holy See over many centuries,” said Cardinal Seán Brady.
The Vatican also issued a statement this evening in which it said noted the decision. It said every state was “free to decide, on the basis of its possibilities and its interests, whether to have an Ambassador to the Holy See resident in Rome or in another country.
“What is important is diplomatic relations between the Holy See and states, and these are not in question with regard to Ireland.”
The prestigious Villa Spada is the most valuable property owned by the diplomatic service.
A spokesman for Mr Gilmore said that it was for the Holy See to decide the manner of its representation here.
The Vatican was among the first states with which the newly independent Irish Free State established full diplomatic relations in the 1920s.
He also said the move would allow for the relocation of six staff to offset losses elsewhere in the diplomatic service.
The changes announced today are expected to come into force in the New Year.
In his statement, Mr Gilmore said that trade volumes in Iran had fallen short of expectations, leading the Government to close the embassy in Tehran and to seek Iran’s agreement to a non-resident accreditation.
The office in Timor Leste had been opened in 2000, to administer a bilateral aid programme, and while this programme would continue, Mr Gilmore said, it was no longer necessary to maintain a resident office in Dili.
Ireland’s ambassador in Singapore will continue to be accredited to Timor Leste, he said.
Mr Gilmore said that the Government would continue to review Ireland’s network of diplomatic and consular missions “to ensure that it reflects our present day needs and yields value for money”.


7 Responses to “Irish Embassy in Vatican to close.”

  1. Raymond says:

    Well said, and thank you for flagging down the next report (shameful and awful as it will be), the Raphoe Report. I can’t wait! But also: the “countless children” are also the ones who PASSIVELY have been abused but our system, and have become ADULTS, in the society that we have in Ireland today. There is a lot of brain-UN-washing to do. But I feel that some things are moving in the right direction at last. On a practgical note: it is a real shame that the same Government had to blunder the last referendum, as this will only make future ones more difficult to pass. HEAR NOW, GOVERNMENT!!! : IT WILL NOT DO TO “PROPOSE AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION ABOUT THE “RIGHT OF THE CHILD”…….!!! PRE-PA-RA-TION IS URGENTLY REQUIRED. EXPLANATIONS, SUPPORT….ETC


  2. nomme de guerre says:

    At last the unthinkable has happened and Ireland has shown the door to a major crime syndicate . Officialy as a cost saving exercise but the reality is the Vatican is a liability not just in economic terms . It has behaved in a disgraceful manner with a display of arrogance once reserved for the courts of 17th century Europe . Brady up in Belfast must now ask himself how hw can cling on to a priveleged position within that aristocracy having participated in those crimes that has lead to the dismantling of that ” historic ” relationship . I feel the release of The Raphoe Report would be a timely move these next few days as a “coup de grace ” for what can only be described as an occupation that has caused untold damage to countless children . The next move must be their removal from the schools and hospitals and minds of our population . To begin with Brady should be before the courts .

  3. FXR says:

    And next Michael D better dump the idea of the Papal Legate as the head of the diplomatic corps once and forever.

    Next job is to get the Vatican’s hands off our schools and off the minds of Irish children once and for all.

  4. Raymond says:



    ANALYSIS: The closure of the Irish Embassy will be seen in the context of a decline in relations following the reports into clerical child sex abuse

    NO MATTER how it is put, money-saving exercise or otherwise, the decision to close the Irish Embassy to the Holy See will be seen in the context of a deterioration in relations between Rome and Dublin since the publication of the Murphy report in November 2009. The third of four statutory reports on the abuse of children by Catholic clergy in Ireland, it followed an inquiry into the handling of clerical child sex abuse allegations in the Dublin archdiocese.

    On its publication the Irish public became aware for the first time that the Vatican did not acknowledge correspondence from the Murphy commission. It also learned that subsequent correspondence by the commission with the papal nunciature in Dublin was also ignored. Such was the outcry that then minister for foreign affairs Micheál Martin summoned the papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, to Iveagh House.

    Two months later Archbishop Leanza refused to appear before the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs to explain Rome’s non-cooperation with the Murphy commission.

    His refusal was described at the time as “scandalous”, “deeply regrettable” and “incomprehensible” by current Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. It rested there.

    On July 13th last the Cloyne report was published. It revealed that when the investigating commission wrote to the papal nunciature in Dublin on this occasion, Archbishop Leanza replied – but to say he was “unable to assist” it.

    The Cloyne report accused the Vatican, through its opposition to the Irish bishops’ 1996 guidelines on handling clerical child sex abuse, of giving comfort to dissenters in the church who did not want to implement them. In a secret 1997 letter to the Irish bishops, Rome described the 1996 rules as “merely a study document” and not official.

    Once again Archbishop Leanza was summoned to Iveagh House, this time to meet Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore. He was told by Gilmore that Vatican intervention in Irish affairs was “totally inappropriate, unjustified and unacceptable . . . even within the context of the arrangements of the church itself”. The effect was that the “the abuse of children in this country was not reported to the authorities”, he said. He asked for an explanation.

    That same day, July 14th last, Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the Vatican’s approach to clerical abuse inquiries in Ireland as “absolutely disgraceful”.

    Six days later, on July 20th, he delivered his extraordinary address to the Dáil on Cloyne.

    The report had “brought the Government, Irish Catholics and the Vatican to an unprecedented juncture,” he said. It exposed “an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an inquiry in a sovereign, democratic republic . . . as little as three years ago, not three decades ago.”

    The report excavated “the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism . . . the narcissism . . . that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day”. Far from “listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal . . . the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer”, he said.

    Five days later Archbishop Leanza was recalled to Rome. He has since been posted to the Czech Republic.

    On September 3rd the Vatican issued a 25-page response to the Cloyne report and comments by the Tánaiste and Taoiseach, rejecting claims it had interfered in Irish affairs or inquiries.

    That response was described by the Tánaiste as “highly technical, highly legalistic, very much dancing on the head of a pin”.

    The Taoiseach said his criticisms of the Vatican “still stand”.

    Currently there is no papal nuncio in Ireland, or to Ireland.

  5. The vatican has not been of any help during these differcult times . because of the situation at the moment . The state is doing the right thing. Ireland cant afford the holy see. And thay can do that themselves. thay have the means to keep themselves.VIPs. cost a lot of money.Cutting costs makes sense.

  6. Paddy Monaghan says:

    I dont agree with Eamon Gilmore that the decision to close the Vatican embassy has nothing to do with the fallout from the Cloyne report. However as a Catholic lay leader I totally agree with the decision.The Vatican behaved disgracefully to our Government appointed Clerical Child abuse Commissions and it is fitting that Ireland closes its Vatican Embassy on this account alone. I disagree with Cardinal Brady – he appeals to the historic ties between the Irish People and the Vatican. But these very ties engendered a Vatican complacency and arrogance and so he closure of the Vatican embassy is very appropriate. It will help, in my opinion, the necessary reformation that needs to happen in the Irish Catholic church, which needs to return to become Christ centred and scripturally based and not Vatican based.

  7. Evin Daly says:

    For a second my heart jumped. I though ‘at last, Ireland is acting on principle in closing the embassy in the Vatican. A just response to the abuse of our children’ Then I read it was a cost cutting measure. (grinding teeth)