Papal nuncio to Ireland arrives today


THE NEW papal nuncio to Ireland, Archbishop Charles John Brown, is expected to arrive in the country today and will present his credentials to President Michael D Higgins in mid-February.

The Manhattan-born former monsignor has worked at the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 1994 and was ordained as titular Archbishop of Aquileia by Pope Benedict XVI on January 6th.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has issued an invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Ireland on the occasion of the International Eucharistic Congress later this year, and it is understood this is under consideration.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore has made clear on a number of occasions that the Government is “more than ready” to issue a formal State invitation, in line with normal diplomatic practice.

Since its decision last November to close the Irish embassy to the Vatican, the Government has nominated the secretary general of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, David Cooney, as nonresident ambassador. Mr Cooney is expected to present his credentials to Pope Benedict as soon as May.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael TD for Sligo-North Leitrim Tony McLoughlin has tabled a motion for tomorrow’s meeting of his parliamentary party calling for a review of the decision to close the embassy to the Vatican.