Ireland closes embassies in Vatican, Iran
Closures a result of budget cuts.
Ireland has announced its plans to close embassies in the Vatican and Iran saying that it is not worthwhile to keep them open in tough economic times.
The Irish government is closing its embassies in the Vatican and elsewhere.
The statement from the nation's Department of Foreign Affairs said, "No area of government expenditure can be immune from the need to implement savings. Today's decision follows a review of overseas missions... which gave particular attention to the economic return of bilateral missions."
In other words, the Irish are looking at which embassies cost more than they're worth, and shuttering them.
The Irish government has reported that the cuts are the results of a bailout agreement that the country took during the most recent recession. As part of the deal, substantial cuts in spending were mandated in closing the embassies were part of those cuts.
The decision to close embassies in Iran in Timor aren't particularly surprising. However, the closure of the Irish Embassy at the Vatican is remarkable considering the number of Roman Catholics in Ireland. Ireland's embassy at the Vatican is one of the their oldest embassies in the world.
Speculation over the decision to close the Vatican Embassy has centered upon cases of sexual abuse by some of the clergy in Ireland. Although it is unlikely that the embassy is being closed exclusively for that reason. Still, the Irish government has been at odds with the Vatican over the scandals. After recent remarks by the Irish prime minister, the Vatican withdrew its envoy to Ireland, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza.
Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, has also insisted that the decision to close the Vatican Embassy has nothing to do with the controversy.
He remarked, "this is part of a review of expenditures that we carried out. We're not breaking off diplomatic relations with the Vatican. [Vatican] Diplomatic relations are very important."
The Irish government has not ruled out that other embassies may also be closed in the near future.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Ireland, Vatican, embassies, Iran, Timor
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