Ireland’s government has announced it will reopen its embassy to the Holy See, but on a much smaller scale than the previous mission it closed in November 2011.
The decision is part of a wider expansion of Ireland’s embassy and consulate network, the Irish Times reported Jan. 21.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s foreign minister, received approval from his ministerial colleagues to open new embassies and consulates at a weekly cabinet meeting this morning.
The new Holy See embassy will be housed in a separate building to the Irish embassy to Rome, which is now housed in the Villa Spada, the premises of the old Vatican embassy.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said new “modest” office accommodation will be found. Only one diplomat will be required to staff the new embassy, and its focus will be on development aid, the Irish Times reported.
The paper, citing unnamed sources, said the decision is a recognition of the change in papacy, and Pope Francis’ focus on overseas aid.
Since it was closed in 2011, Ireland’s diplomatic relations with the Holy See have been handled by the secretary general of Foreign Affairs in Dublin.
Archbishop Charles Brown, apostolic nuncio to Ireland, offered this statement on the decision: “I am very pleased by the announcement of the Irish Government regarding the reopening of a residential Embassy of Ireland to the Holy See, and the appointment of a resident Ambassador. It is an excellent decision for the people of Ireland and will be beneficial to Ireland in making its distinctive and important contribution to international relations. We are all grateful to those who worked so hard to make this day possible.”
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