Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore has repeated that he will not re-open the Irish Embassy at the Vatican saying “we can service the Vatican from Dublin.”
There have been various stories circulating that the Embassy would be re-opened after pressure from church authorities and leading Irish Catholics.
"We had a small diplomatic service, much smaller than most countries of our size.
"We are in straitened economic circumstances, I have to make the most prudent and practical use of both the money I have available and the personnel I have available,”he told the Sunday Independent.
"I decided -- or recommended to Government -- that we would close three of our smaller missions and the Vatican was among them. That decision stands."
"When our financial circumstances improve, we can look at it again. We have a small service and what we have to do is place that service to the best advantage of the country and the needs of the country.
"Right now, that means that we have to have a presence in each of the European Union member states, we'll be taking up presidency next year. Because of the discussions that we're having with European partners anyway about financial and other matters, it makes sense that we have a presence right across all of the European capitals.
"We also have to look at the areas where there are significant numbers of Irish people visiting and going to work.
"And there is a third aspect to this in that we put a very big emphasis on in our diplomatic work. And that is that our diplomatic service take a more leading role in the promotion of Ireland's trade interests."
"We are looking in particular at a lot of the new BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries, the emerging markets.
"One of the things that I'm hugely conscious of is if you take South America, we've only two resident embassies in South America.
"And if you consider the progress we are now making in China, well we have an embassy in Beijing, we have a consulate in Shanghai. (But) arguably we need a bigger presence there."
He added: "I think we need a bigger presence across Asia. I don't see the question of where we have embassies and consulates as something that's kind of fixed in stone.
"We have to adapt to the changing requirements -- and the changing requirements is that we can service the Vatican from Dublin."
Happy Earth Day! Ireland sure looks gorgeous from outer space