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No comment from Taoiseach after meeting with Pope Benedict

It was the first meeting of the pair since Kenny’s landmark speech in the Dáil last July.

Enda Kenny in Rome yesterday
Enda Kenny in Rome yesterday
Image: Alessandra Tarantino/AP/Press Association Images

IN WHAT WAS their first meeting since Enda Kenny’s landmark speech to the Dáil in which he was highly critical of the Vatican, the Taoiseach was joined by other members of global centre-right political parties for a gathering with Pope Benedict XVI this morning.

RTÉ Radio One has reported that Kenny made no comment to reporters outside the Pontiff’s residence at Castel Gandolfo after the meeting. A government spokesman said the two men exchanged pleasantries.

It was billed as the first time relations between the State and the Pope could be examined more closely since the Vatican described Kenny’s claims as “unfounded”.

During what has been described as one of the most significant speeches in the history of Irish government, Kenny said the heartbreaking revelations of the Cloyne Report showed the “dysfunction, the disconnection, the elitism that dominates the Vatican today”. He also spoke out against the church’s treatment of victims of sexual abuse.

After being asked by RTÉ last night if he was comfortable about attending the meeting, Kenny said he believed his speech had been beneficial and it allowed for a realism.

The Taoiseach travelled to Rome yesterday with Centrist Democrats International for talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. In a statement issued by the Italian government following the meeting, Monti expressed “strong appreciation for the progress made by Ireland in recent months that allowed a return to the market in July”.

One year on: What’s happened since Enda Kenny’s landmark Cloyne speech?

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