I am probably a little bit late to this debate. Still, much of the debate has focused on our diplomatic relations between Ireland and the office of the Vatican City and why its embassy should be kept in place or closed.
The fact is – relations between our two countries have never been worse, not since between the 11th and 13th centuries have relations between Ireland and the Vatican been this bad.
Back in the early middle ages, The Vatican insisted Irish Abbots and priests stop shagging anything that moved and discontinue the practice of getting married and passing the local parish or monastery on to their various offspring. Yes, Priests were once allowed get married and father children…. and some still do sire offspring you might say…
Yes, the Vatican is also a country, about the same size of Carrigstown. Legitimised in modern times by Mussolini in 1929. Mind you being legitimised by Mussolini is akin to having Old Nick as the Godfather to your Child.
Those amongst you that have a certain affection for the Holy See and Ireland’s diplomatic relations with it have had your rosary beads in twist lately. Yesterday a Priest in Knock called on people to lobby against the closure of the embassy.
They would up in Knock, apart from the fact you can purchase virgin Mary ashtrays, Knock also has an airport, which is a dainty, quaint little place. It owes its existence to Monsignor James Horan who campaigned for the airport to be built. Due to the fact that a statue of the Virgin Mary did a gig up there back in 1879. Long before it was fashionable for her to be making appearances on pieces of toast in Mexico and the like.
Enough of the history lessons, we all know how the the Holy See and Vatican City State have failed Ireland diplomatically and treated us contemptibly as a nation. There are not enough words or analogies to describe how awful the Catholic church have treated us, but more importantly the criminal coverup of the heinous crimes visited upon the vulnerable those in their charge. For that alone, whole countries have been bombed back to the stone age for less. Let alone the very minor issue of shutting an Embassy that serves little or no function to our Republic.
I’m not sure if this has been covered in the media, but it turns out after some investigation that The Irish embassy to the Vatican and the Irish Embassy to Italy are only ehhhh 3.6km in distance apart, 10 minutes in one of those overpriced Italian taxis or a 20 minute walk in the glorious Roman sunshine. There is no point whatsoever in having to 2 embassies in Rome so it does make actual common sense to shut the Vatican Embassy. Marked Green is the embassy to the Vatican and in red is the Irish embassy to Italy.
Why shut the Vatican Embassy ……. for this very simple reason, you are not going get disgruntled tourists that have been ripped of by a restaurant, or the fella who’s Mrs has run off with the waiter, or stag party hordes seeking consular assistance from the Vatican Embassy. Unless there are planes loads of Irish Priests running amok drunk on bottles of communion wine, the Vatican embassy serves little or no purpose. Embassies primarily deal with lost passports, Citizens in legal bother, trade talks, diplomatic niceties etc. The Vatican embassy does not deal with those everyday garden variety issues for our citizens.
We are not cutting diplomatic ties with the Vatican, Diplomatic ties with Vatican will remain, but will be handled by a consular officer from our Italian Embassy 3.6KM away. So it is all much ado about nothing. Unless the Vatican decides to open some strip clubs , imports wine from West Cork, or starts buying unleavened bread in Dublin for their Holy communion there is little value in keeping the embassy open.
Last November, the Government announced that the Irish resident Embassy to the Holy See would close and instead a non-resident Ambassador would be appointed. The decision was taken on the basis of economic factors deriving from the need to cut public expenditure and focus the modest resources of our diplomatic service on economic recovery. The total cost saving in a full year is estimated at €845,000.
Last week, the Tánaiste stated: “The Government will continue to review our diplomatic network and it may be that, as public finances recover, we will at some time in the future be able to reopen a modest resident embassy to the Holy See.”
Since November, there has been regular contact at official level between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican. The closure of the resident Embassy has been completed and the Holy See has agreed to the Government’s nomination of the Secretary General of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. David Cooney, as Ireland’s non-resident Ambassador. Mr. Cooney has met with Vatican officials in Rome a number of times since his appointment. On one of his visits he attended the ordination of the new Nuncio, Archbishop Charles J. Brown, by Pope Benedict and conveyed to Archbishop Brown the best wishes of the President, Government and people of Ireland.
The Government will work closely with Archbishop Brown in his roles of Apostolic Nuncio and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps.
The Government has welcomed the Holy See’s commitment to constructive dialogue and co-operation with the Government and the Tánaiste has said that should the Government be informed by the Holy See that Pope Benedict wishes to visit Ireland at a time of mutual convenience, for instance on the occasion of this year’s Eucharistic Congress, he has no doubt that the Government will respond positively and that an invitation will be forthcoming.