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Papal Nuncio Giuseppe Leanza was recalled to the Vatican earlier this year Julien Behal/PA Wire
Diplomatic Relations

Ireland to close its embassy in the Vatican

Embasies in Iran and East Timor will also close ‘to implement savings’.

THE IRISH GOVERNMENT is to close its embassy in the Vatican -  as part of the government cuts programme. The embassies in Iran and East Timor will also close.

A statement from the Tánaiste’s office said said that no area of government expenditure is immune from the need to make savings, saying:

While the Embassy to the Holy See is one of Ireland’s oldest missions, it yields no economic return.

Ireland will instead be represented in the Vatican by a non-resident ambassador.

The Department of Foreign Affairs had carried out a review of overseas missions to determine what – if any – economic return they offered before coming to today’s decision. reported earlier this year that the embassy in the Holy See cost €455,820 to run in 2010. The East Timor embassy, which cost less than any other  Irish embassy, was €148,716 for the year.

Ireland has had an embassy in Iran since 1976. The government cited trade volumes which had ‘fallen short of expectations’ and current pressures on public finances as the reasons for its closure.

The Papal Nuncio, the Holy See’s representative in Ireland, was recalled to the Vatican in June this year as tensions between the Irish government and the Holy See escalated over the handling of clerical sex abuse.

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