Maltese ambassador resigns


Malta's ambassador to Ireland, Mr Richard Muscat, has resigned after allegations were made against a relative, according to reports in the Maltese and Irish press.

Mr Muscat submitted a letter of resignation to his government after he said he was wrongly accused of claiming diplomatic immunity after a member of his family was accused of assaulting a female student in Dublin.

Mr Muscat's son was arrested in connection with attacks on two women but has not been charged.

However, his father - and solicitors acting for the family - have denied his diplomatic status was ever used to save his son from charges after his arrest. The ambassador stressed justice had been left to proceed in the normal way.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern revealed the Maltese authorities have confirmed diplomatic immunity will not apply.

But Richard Muscat maintains his 35-year-old son is innocent and the allegations are wholly unfounded. He said his son suffered from a medical condition.

The Timesof Malta reported earlier that Maltese foreign affairs minister Michael Frendo accepted Mr Muscat's resignation yesterday.

In his letter of resignation, Mr Muscat - the Maltese ambassador for eight years - also blamed a section of the media for making what he called 'unfounded and defamatory' allegations against his son.

An alleged attack happened close to Herbert Park, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, last October.

Gardaí have confirmed that a file on the case is still with the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Additional reporting: PA