Pope will be greeted with 'decorum'


The Government will receive Pope Benedict with “proper decorum’’ if he visits Ireland, the Taoiseach Enda Kenny said today.

Speaking in the Dáil this morning, Enda Kenny said the welcome would be extended if the pope accepts an invitation from the Catholic hierarchy to visit Ireland for the Eucharistic Congress.

The Taoiseach was replying to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who called for the reopening of the Irish embassy in the Vatican. The decision to close the embassy, one of the Republic’s oldest diplomatic missions, was announced last November by Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore as part of cost-cutting review of the State’s overseas missions.

Mr Kenny said Government decisions were reviewed on a constant basis.

“This is a Government decision, and is one that will be reviewed as per the Tánaiste’s very clear comment on it,” he added.

The Taoiseach said the issue of the closure had been “hyped up” in certain quarters. “The second most senior diplomatic person in the country has been assigned as a non-resident ambassador to the Vatican,’’ he added.

</p> <br/> <br/> Mr Martin said the saving from the embassy’s closure was about €450,000.<br/> <br/> For many reasons, he added, he believed that it was a wrong decision, and he had long held the view that Ireland needed extensive diplomatic footprints across the globe.<br/> <br/> “I think it is fair to say that the Irish embassy in the Vatican was never about economics, never about trade, or, indeed, money,” he added.