Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister has denied any long term rift with the Vatican over the Cloyne Report as Irish priests prepare to debate their future.
Labor Party leader Eamon Gilmore has played down fears of a breakdown in relations with the Holy See ahead of an historic meeting of priests in Dublin.
The current crisis in the Catholic priesthood will be the main topic on the agenda at the first AGM of the Association of Catholic Priests on Tuesday.
Members of the public and the media have been invited to the first annual meeting of the new body when those concerned about the future of the Irish church will be invited to speak.
Minister Gilmore meanwhile has dismissed suggestions that Ireland’s relationship with the Vatican was damaged by the recent Cloyne Report and comments made by Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
“We asked the Vatican for a response to the Cloyne report and to our statement on Cloyne. The Vatican gave us their response and we issued a statement in response - I think it’s well known there has been what might be described as ‘an agreement to differ’ about it,” said Gilmore.
“Our relationship with the Vatican stands as it always has done. We have diplomatic relations with the Vatican and diplomatic relations with any state is on the basis that you are able to speak frankly about issues, which is what we did with the Vatican.
“As a Government, we spoke frankly to the Vatican about the way in which the Vatican had responded to Cloyne. We stated our position, we heard their response and right now, we are more concerned with putting robust child protection measures in place here.
“The Vatican knows our views, we know their views and our focus now is to put in place the best possible legislation to protect children in this country and we will expect everybody in the State including representatives of the church to support those efforts.”