The Irish government faces a potential Holy War over the decision to close the country’s Vaticanembassy.

Coalition party leaders Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore are at loggerheads over the closure, announced after the attack by Kenny on the Vatican’s failure to act on child abuse in the Cloyne diocese.

Kenny has given in to calls from Fine Gael backbenchers to reconsider the decision to remove the Irish embassy from the Vatican.

The Prime Minister went on the record last week when he confirmed that the government would "review" the decision in consultation with Catholic Church authorities.

Now Kenny’s deputy Gilmore, the Labor Party leader, has told Ireland’s biggest Sunday newspaper that the decision to close the embassy at the Vatican is final.


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“The decision will not be reversed. It was a government decision,” Gilmore told the Sunday Independent.

“I have set out the position as to why it was necessary to do so. It was one of three embassies we closed. Like everyone else, the Department of Foreign Affairs had to cut its cloth to measure.

“We have appointed a secretary-general in my department as ambassador as a non-resident. He will service it from Dublin. The decision to close the embassy and not to have an ambassador in residence is not going to be reversed.

“The other issue that comes into play here is the refusal of the Vatican to allow countries to use their embassy to Italy as their embassy to the Vatican.

“So we have had to maintain two residences, two staffs. If the Vatican relaxes its view on that then we can relook at the arrangements then.”

Gilmore’s categorical rejection of calls to re-open the embassy come just 24 hours after Fine Gael’s Junior Minister Lucinda Creighton had announced that an Irish ambassador would return to the Vatican within two years.