Ireland has closed its Vatican embassy, sending relations between the Irish government and the Holy See to a new low. The move means that Ireland is now the only major Catholic country to not have an embassy at the Vatican, underlining the extent to which relations have been damaged by a series of rows.
The Irish government says that the closure comes as the embassy is seen to present no ‘economic return’. But this is seen by many observers as veiled criticism of the Vatican’s attempts to deal with a series of controversies, most notably the scandal over child abuse within the Catholic church.
Sources within the Vatican are reportedly irritated by Ireland’s decision, and there are reports that other countries could see fit to make similar moves. The Cloyne report recently exposed the extent to which child abuse has in some cases been covered up by the Catholic church, causing shock in Ireland and arguably leading to the decision to close the embassy.