Irish Government to close Vatican Embassy

As the BBC reports

The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore made the announcement with “greatest regret” on Thursday.

He said that the closure was part of government cost cutting plans.

Mr Gilmore added that although the embassy to the Holy See was one of the Republic’s oldest missions, it yielded no “economic return”.

“The government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can 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.”

The RTÉ report adds

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.

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.

Also to close are the Irish Embassy in Iran and Irish government’s representative office in Timor Leste providing, in total, an estimated annual saving of €1.6million €1.25million.

Adds  Here’s a potentially relevant post by Mick in September on the disagreement between the Irish Government and the Vatican.

I don’t think the recalled Papal Nuncio to Ireland has been replaced yet…