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Ireland to re-open Vatican embassy

Ireland's Vatican embassy was closed two years ago (AP)

Ireland is to reopen its Vatican embassy two years after it was closed to cut costs. The new embassy has been described by the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs as a one-person operation with a focus on international development.

“This will enable Ireland to engage directly with the leadership of Pope Francis on the issues of poverty eradication, hunger and human rights,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

The decision to close the embassy in 2011 came shortly after Prime Minister Enda Kenny criticised the Vatican over its handling of an inquiry into clerical child abuse, however the Irish government said that the closure was carried out in order to save money.

The embassy at the Vatican is one of five new embassies set to be opened by the Irish government, with the others opening in Bangkok in Thailand, Jakarta in Indonesia, Zagreb in Croatia and Nairobi in Kenya. There will also be three new consuls opening in Hong Kong, Austin in Texas and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

“Over the past five years our diplomats have been tasked with the frontline role in restoring Ireland’s once tattered reputation abroad, and in championing our economic cause,” said Eamon Gilmore, minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade.