Vatican embassy closure stands

 

The Government’s decision to close the Vatican embassy will not be reversed Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said today.

Mr Gilmore said the decision will only reviewed in the context of improved financial circumstances or if the Vatican relaxes its requirement about having two separate buildings for the Italian and Holy See embassies.

The Tánaiste said David Cooney, appointed non-resident ambassador to the Holy See, has been instructed to open talks on the matter with Vatican officials as soon as his credentials are accepted.

Mr Cooney, secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs, is expected to push the Vatican for flexibility on the issue.

“It’s not a case of compromise, we made a decision we’re standing by the decision…this requirement that the Vatican have that you have to have two separate buildings, if they show flexibility on that then we will show flexibility on it.

“When our ambassador David Cooney has his credentials submitted and when the Vatican makes arrangements to receive those credentials, he is then in a position to have discussions with them then we will carry those forward,“ Mr Gilmore told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

Yesterday, Catholic Archbishop Dr Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, expressed confidence the embassy would reopen “in some other way’’.

He added that it would be a “leaner embassy’’ because of the cost involved.

“I do not think it will be long before other arrangements are found – maybe not immediately,’’ said Dr Martin.