Government rejects FF call to reinstate ambassador to Vatican


The Government has rejected a call by Fianna Fáil to reinstate a full-time Irish ambassador to the Vatican to coincide with the election of a new pope.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said last night there were no plans to revisit the issue, and he described as “inappropriate” any attempt to politicise Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to retire.

Fianna Fáil whip Seán Ó Fearghaíl said the election of a new pope in the coming weeks would be the perfect opportunity to appoint a full-time ambassador once again to this important role in Rome.

“Ireland has always had an ambassador in this important post, and now that the Government are saying the economic picture is improving there is no need for any further delay in my view,” said Mr Ó Fearghaíl.

Mr Gilmore said: “Any attempt to politicise Pope Benedict’s decision to retire around the issue of the resident Embassy to the Holy See is inappropriate.”

Mr Gilmore added that he would continue to review the deployment of the diplomatic service in the context of the budgetary situation.