The Irish government has given its strongest indication yet that it may reopen its embassy to the Holy See.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s foreign minister, said he is in favour of reopening the embassy but as a “two ambassadors, one building model”.
That would mean combining both embassies to Italy and the Holy See on the same compound, as already is the case with the embassies of the UK, Israel and the Netherlands. The United States’ government recently said it was planning on adopting a similar arrangement for its embassy to the Holy See.
The decision to close Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See in 2011 was met with strong opposition and was particularly unpopular among members of Fine Gael. It also led to a popular grassroots initiative called “Ireland Stand Up” which has campaigned to reinstate the embassy.
Many saw the closure as ideological and part of a wider secular agenda. Since the embassy closed, Ireland’s abortion laws have been relaxed and the government has called for a referendum on same-sex “marriage”.
Officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs are now expected to draw up a proposal which will see the embassy reopened, the Irish Independent reported Dec. 4th.
“If the Vatican is willing to accept the arrangement of two ambassadors, one building, we would look at it positively,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.
Fine Gael backbenchers are reportedly hopeful that a new embassy to the Vatican could be up and running in early 2014.