The Government’s decision to shut down the Irish embassy in the Vatican is a mistake, according to Fianna Fail councillor John Carroll.
“The Tánaiste, Éamon Gilmore, should reconsider removing Ireland’s presence from such an important diplomatic centre, for what can only be described as extremely short-sighted poorly though out reasons.This is a wrong choice diplomatically, politically and economically and it certainly will not add to Ireland’s position in the world. The saving involved could have been found quite easily by making other adjustments within the €150m overhead of the Tánaiste’s Department,” said Cllr Carroll.
He said that the Tánaiste had justified closing the embassy because of Ireland’s lack of trade with the Vatican.
“Since when should issues such as human rights, disarmament environment, freedom of religion, democracy and world aid not be a cornerstone of Ireland’s foreign policy? Does the Tánaiste not agree that the Vatican is a major world player in relation to all of these issues?” asked Cllr Carroll.
The Nenagh area councillor pointed out that, last July, the Tanaiste said that the Vatican had one of the largest diplomatic corps in the world, making it an important listening post and crossroads on a range of global, social, political and international issues of interest to Ireland.
“What has changed in the meantime to change his opinion?” he asked.
Cllr Carroll highlighted a report on the website of the US embassy in relation to the Holy See: “Formal diplomatic relations with the Holy See were established in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II. The mission works in partnership with the Holy See on global issues including HIV/Aids, world hunger, religious freedom and human rights. As a global entity, the Holy See is influential on many issues and has far-reaching influence in even the most remote corners of the world.”