As was outlined in my statement of 3 November last year, the decision of the Government to close our embassy to the Holy See and to appoint a non-resident Ambassador was driven by economic factors deriving from our need to cut public expenditure and focus the modest resources of our diplomatic service on economic recovery. The total cost saving in a full year is estimated at €845,000.
The wind down of the resident Embassy has now been completed and the Holy See has agreed to the Government's nomination as our non-resident Ambassador. He is expected to present his credentials to Pope Benedict later this year. The Government will continue to review our diplomatic network and it may be that, as public finances recover, we will at some time in the future be able to reopen a modest resident embassy to the Holy See.