Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has reacted angrily to claims that his row with the Vatican is behind the decision to close Ireland’s embassy to the Holy See.
The government leader has categorically refuted that the closure is down to anything other than economic reality.
Fianna Fail’s deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv challenged Kenny to admit his row with the Catholic Church over the Cloyne Report was the real reason behind the decision to close the embassy at the Vatican.
Ireland’s Catholic Church hierarchy, at loggerheads with Kenny over his response to the Cloyne report on clerical sex abuse in the Cork diocese, have also slated the embassy’s withdrawal.
Cardinal Sean Brady and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin have both condemned the government’s controversial move as relations between Church and State deteriorate.
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Now Kenny has come out fighting and repeated the claims made by his Foreign Affairs Minister that the move is purely a cost cutting exercise.
“The decision has nothing to do with the issue of Cloyne,” insisted Prime Minister Kenny.
“The connection and contact I’ve had since my contribution to the Dáil has been one of compliment and also an encouragement to work with Government in seeing that this is put right and never happens again.
“I’m not going to comment on Cardinal Brady’s reaction. This is Government business and Government have made a clear decision here. It’s part of the comprehensive spending review and reorganisation of our diplomatic corps.”