Ireland to close Vatican embassy following child abuse row

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DUBLIN—Ireland said Thursday it would close its embassy to the Vatican as part of a shake-up of its missions abroad following a row with the Holy See earlier this year over a child sex abuse scandal.

“It is with the greatest regret and reluctance that the government has decided to close Ireland’s (embassy) to the Holy See,” said a statement from the foreign ministry.

Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore said the move was not connected to the row with the Vatican which was sparked by a July report into a long-running abuse scandal in the diocese of Cloyne, insisting it was aimed at saving money.

“I very much regret that due to the financial constraints that this country is under at the moment that we have to reduce the number of missions that we have abroad, including the mission that we have at the Vatican,” he told RTE state radio.

The foreign ministry added in a statement that “the government believes that Ireland’s interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador.”

The ministry also announced the closure of the embassy in Iran and a representative office in East Timor as part of the overhaul, which it also insisted were aimed at saving money in the wake of the financial crisis.

Predominantly Catholic Ireland has traditionally had close links with the Vatican and the embassy was opened in 1929 but Dublin and the Holy See fell out dramatically earlier this year.

The July report into more than a decade of abuse by priests in the diocese of Cloyne condemned the Church’s handling of abuse claims against clerics as inadequate.

The report sparked outrage in the Irish government and triggered an unprecedented attack by Prime Minister Enda Kenny who called the Roman Catholic Church’s behaviour “absolutely disgraceful”.

The Vatican subsequently recalled its envoy to Ireland in order to formulate an official response.

The decision to close the missions followed a 2009 report on public expenditure savings choices for the government which said Ireland had 76 embassies and consulates compared to 40 in 1989.

The report recommended reducing the number of embassies and consulates to 55.

Thursday’s foreign ministry statement insisted the closures were aimed at saving money and made no mention of the child sex abuse row.

“In order to meet its targets under the EU/IMF programme and to restore public expenditure to sustainable levels, the government has been obliged to implement cuts across a wide range of public services,” it said.

“No area of government expenditure can be immune from the need to implement savings.”

Dublin was forced to turn to the European Union and International Monetary Fund in November last year to seek an 85-billion-euro rescue package following a financial crisis.

Ireland has had an embassy in Tehran since 1976 but trade volumes with Iran had fallen short of expectations, said the statement.

The Irish mission in East Timor had been in place since 2000, two years before independence, said the ministry.

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  • Anonymous

    naku naku dapat maging makatarungan ang Vatican!!! dito sa pilipinas, maraming mga pari at obispo ay may mga kaso din ng pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan at pakikialam sa mga usaping pang gobyerno samantalang meron na namang batas tungkol sa separation of church and state. dapat ng pagtuunan ng simbahang katoliko ang kanilang hanay na nanghihingi ng mga sasakyan kay ate glo, ginugulo ang PCSO at PAGCOR, nakikialam sa RH bill at divorce law, gay marriage atbp. panahon na para ang sarili na lang nila ang kanilang tao pakialaman!!! 

  • Anonymous

    The RC church’s sexual abuse epidemic is worldwide, including here. Most are covered up and no justice rendered to the victims and relatives of the abused. The one in Butuan city was covered up by the Bishop who transferred the offender to another parish. This is the same Bishop who wrote asking for a brandnew vehicle for his birthday. Either we are deaf and dumb or we are complicit with the evils of religion by those who claim to have God’s law in their hearts!?

  • Anonymous

    For all her experience with this controversy plus her getting the most pressure for being the most publicized about the issue, the Catholic Church, has by now the most efficient system to go after sexual offenders. Sexual abuse is not unique to the RC Church; it is happening in all all religious systems. Let us all be vigilant that all other churches receive the same pressure as the Holy See is getting so that all imams, rabbis, ministers, etc. follow the Vatican’s efforts (albeit some believe they’re insufficient) to eradicate this grave sin of our  times.

    • Anonymous

      Let’s hope other organisations don’t follow the Vatican’s lead and deliberately set out to subvert the laws of sovereign states in order to better ‘manage’ their reputation on the World stage, right?

      ‘the Catholic Church, has by now the most efficient system to go after sexual offenders’. Yes, but the same system appears to have been used to identify offenders before secular authorities can, and move them on before they are caught.

      It’s not ‘other churches’ that are going through a widespread and major abuse scandal, is it? If they do, we can deal with them then. The RCC needs to show some genuine accountability for the terrible crimes and evasions of justice, rather than shamelessly manoeuvring and evading accusations.

  • Anonymous

    “Predominantly Catholic Ireland has traditionally had close links with
    the Vatican and the embassy was opened in 1929 but Dublin and the Holy
    See fell out dramatically earlier this year.

    The July report into more than a decade of abuse by priests in the
    diocese of Cloyne condemned the Church’s handling of abuse claims
    against clerics as inadequate.”

    TOUCHE’!  Ito ang dapat na sawsawan ng CBCP….in the light of the innumerable unreported abuses of the clerics against its traditons and its faithful.  This an exceedingly relevant issue and it is important to know how the PH hierarchy responds to this to “guide” its sheeple.

  • Anonymous

    If our juveniles (15 years of age & under) are exempt from prosecution even on murder cases why can’t we give the same exemption to our Catholic priests who actually commits such crime (sexual abuse, pedophilia) in the course of their vocation? On second thought we better not. Are priests/clergymen immune to legal prosecution because of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state (just asking)? Now, if they are held legally liable because of such crimes my, my we will run out of priests mind you (hahaha). This sexual abuse/pedophilia thing in the Churches not only in the PH but all over the world will not go away unless and until gays in the priesthood are minimized or completely gotten rid with. But how? That’s a million $$ question. They also have their human needs, just like us.

  • patriotic_act

    in my opinion the real reason behind why the RC is getting all the attention when it comes to sexual abuse among its “holy people” even if sexual abuse is also dominant in other religious sect is because of the RC’s habit of meddling into politics..

    some other sects indeed have political influence too.. but if you come to put into context the RC is the one who “openly” uses its powers to “influence” or “pressure” political decisions.. they are always the first ones to “oppose” or will be the first one to “threat” a catholic politician of “excommunication”.. 

    using their “divine background” to “pressure” a politician to submit on their behalf is already enough for some people to “get back at them” by persecuting them for their “sexual abuses”..

    “ganti gantihan” kumbaga.. masyado kang nagmamalinis and nakikielam sa pamamalakad ng gobyerno eh ultimo sarili mong bakuran at myembro di mo malinis at madisiplina.. bakit kami makikinig sa inyo?”

    something like that sentence is always agreed upon by a lot of people who got fed up by the RC’s constant meddling with political affairs.. and come to think of it.. a lot of those people are “catholics” themselves.. “non-practicing catholics” some might call them..

    it only proves that all of us are merely human beings, prone to mistakes and cursed with imperfections.. and the only thing that will “define” us is how we “treat” each other as “sinners” and wont “act or talk or judge like we never sinned at all”.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Alandente, I’m sure we are in the same desire to help the victims of these sexual abuses, regardless if they happened inside or outside the Church. What I am hoping is for all other religious organizations to come-up with written rules similar to, if not better than, what has already been initiated by the Vatican. Despite Rome’s circulars as to how to punish sexual offenders, the relative independence of each diocese from the Holy See have seen abusers exploiting the patronage of their local superiors. Imagine how much worse the case can be in other religious systems that are not as centralized and publicized as the Catholic Church?

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