Ireland closing Vatican embassy

Nov. 4, 2011 at 4:54 AM

DUBLIN, Ireland, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Ireland is closing one of its oldest embassies, its mission to the Vatican, the government has announced.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said the aim is to cut costs, The Irish Times reported. Ireland is also shuttering its embassies in Iran and Timor-Leste.

Ireland has historically been one of the most staunchly Catholic countries in Europe, but its relationship with the church has frayed over recent revelations of sexual and physical abuse of children in religious schools and orphanages.

Gilmore said, however, the decision was made entirely on economic grounds, closing embassies with minimal economic return.

A non-resident ambassador will oversee the relationship between Ireland and the Vatican while remaining in Dublin, Gilmore said.

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