Saturday Nov 05, 201107:52 PM GMT
Ireland closes Iran embassy along with 2 others
Sat Nov 5, 2011 7:55PM
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Ireland closes its Iran embassy as part of its cost-cutting efforts aimed at slashing spending and meeting last year's international bailout condition.

Irish foreign minister, Eamon Gilmore said Friday that Ireland has decided to close its embassies to Iran, the Vatican, and Timor Leste in its bid to meet fiscal objectives set out under the EU and IMF bailout, according to media reports.

The minister said the three embassies offered the least returns in foreign investment, hence the government has decided to close them to save more than €25 million annually.

Ireland has been cutting embassies and diplomatic staff since 2009 as part of the country's struggle to avoid bankruptcy because of a massive bank-bailout programme.

Gilmore denied that Dublin's weakened relations with the Catholic Church, which governs the Vatican state, plays a role in its choice of cuts.

"The government believes that Ireland's interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador," Gilmore said.

He suggested that a diplomat based in another European country would be assigned the Vatican brief too.

In Rome, Italy's capital, the Vatican also dismissed concerns that the Irish were sending another rebuke to the Catholic Church over its cover-ups of decades of child abuse in Ireland.

In July, Enda Kenny, Ireland's prime minister, condemned the Vatican and accused it of trying to undermine a string of Irish investigations into the scale of child abuse and its concealment.

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