New Irish ambassador assigned to Vatican

A new ambassador to the Holy See has been announced with the appointment of Emma Madigan, who will take charge of Ireland’s scaled back embassy to the Vatican.

The appointment ends a period where Ireland had no ambassador to the Vatican after they merged the position with ambassador to Italy. At the time closing the Vatican Irish embassy was seen by many commentators as retaliation for Vatican non-cooperation in investigations of Irish child abuse by clergy.

Madigan, who had been an assistant chief of protocol at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was approved by the cabinet at a meeting held on Tuesday. She succeeds Noel Fahey, who retired from the position in summer 2011.

In a statement released on Tuesday afternoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs referenced Pope Francis I, saying that since his appointment he has “become a leading global advocate for action to address hunger and poverty and for the respect of human rights.”

Madigan, who has been employed by the DFA for 14 years, is currently assistant chief of protocol and has been heavily involved in high profile visits in and out of Ireland, including the recent state visit of President Higgins to the United Kingdom.

She has also served as vice-consul in New York and has a degree in History and Italian as well as a Masters in European Studies from UCD.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has also said the new embassy will be a “modest,” one-person operation, in keeping with the desire of Pope Francis of “a poor church for the poor,” and will re-open this summer.