Sunday, May 31, 2009

Irish Govt has 'no plans' to reduce Vatican embassy

Relations between Ireland and the Vatican will not be scaled down as part of a widespread Government review of diplomatic spending, The Irish Catholic has learned.

The news comes just days after Department of Foreign Affairs announced the closure of the Consulate in Cardiff as part of a planned reduction in spending on Irish representation overseas.

Other embassies and representatives overseas are also set for the chop over coming months.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs told The Irish Catholic: ''In the Government's Smart Economy document, published at the end of 2008, the Department of Foreign Affairs committed to reviewing its network of missions abroad, in order to ensure that they are operating at an optimum level of efficiency, are delivering tangible services and outcomes for the benefit of Ireland and its citizens, and that resources are aligned with strategic objectives.


''While all missions come within the scope of this review, the Department does not have any specific plans to alter the scale or resource base of Ireland's Embassy to the Holy See,'' the department official added.

Currently the Embassy to the Vatican, housed in the recently-restored Villa Spada on the city's Janiculum Hill, is staffed by an Ambassador and one other Irish diplomat as well as a number of locally-hired staff.


It is understood that costs incurred by the Holy See Embassy are significantly less than those incurred by many Irish embassies overseas.

Ireland first established relations with the Vatican in 1929 and the Holy See was one of the first States targeted by the emerging Free State government for diplomatic relations.

Ambassadors accredited to the Holy See have frequent meeting with senior Vatican officials and act as conduits between their sponsoring-governments and the Church's central administration on a range of diplomatic and ecclesiastical issues.

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Source (IC)

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