Ireland’s Vatican ambassador in Rome for meeting with Pope

The Holy See has official diplomatic ties with 180 countries

Ireland’s non-resident ambassador to the Vatican was among a whole host of diplomats greeted by Pope Francis this week.

David Cooney, who in 2012 presented his credentials to Pope Benedict as the first non-residential ambassador to the Holy See, joined 179 ambassadors to the Vatican whogathered on Monday for the annual New Year’s greeting delivered bythe Pontiff to the diplomaticcorps.

During his address to ambassadors to the Vatican, Pope Francis laid out the issues he intends to highlight on an international scale. The Pontiff prioritised the family, but also took time to speak out against unemployment, hunger, and the throw away culture, where he specifically cited abortion.

"It is frightful to simply think that there are children, victims of abortion, who will never see the light of day; children being used as soldiers, abused and killed in armed conflicts; and children being bought and sold in that terrible form of modern slavery which is human trafficking, a true crime against humanity,” the Pope said.

Pope Francis also called for governments to take courageous decisions that lead to peace and dialogue, especially when it comes to armed conflicts like the ones taking place in the Middle East and Africa.

The Holy See has official diplomatic ties with 180 countries; among the most recent is South Sudan.