Labour TD calls on Govt to reopen Vatican embassy

Call casts doubt on Labour’s assertion that embassy was closed for spending cuts

A backbench labour TD has called on the Government to reopen the Irish Embassy to the Holy See in recognition of Pope Francis’ valiant efforts towards reform, despite Labour’s initial claims that it was closed for financial reasons.

Michael McNamara told The Irish Catholic that “situations have evolved and I would hope that it would be possible to restore the historic links between Ireland and the Vatican”.

“I believe that a very significant page has been turned in the history of the papacy and we should recognise this by restoring normal diplomatic relations,” the Co. Clare TD said.


The call now casts further doubts on Labour’s original assertion that the Irish embassy in the Vatican was closed due to public spending cuts.

Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore last month reiterated that the Government had “no plan” to re-establish a resident Embassy to the Holy See, citing cuts to public expenditure.

However, Mr McNamara said he was “very hopeful” that the Vatican embassy would be re-opened, provided “some of the cost saving benefits could be retained”.

According to Mr McNamara, Pope Francis has taken “a very different approach to his predecessors with regard to pomp and ceremony by adopting a very humble approach”.

Big change

“Obviously, savings have to be retained but I think there has been a big change in approach that needs to be recognised.

“I am also very aware of the importance of maintaining diplomatic relations between nations and the great deal of positive work done by diplomats of the Holy See,” he said.

Mr McNamara’s intervention comes after Tánaiste Gilmore’s announcement that he intends to review Ireland’s foreign policy and external relations. The public consultation process, which will form part of this review, will allow citizens to give their views on foreign affairs.