Even while it comes at a time of historically poor relations between the Government of Ireland and the Holy See, a Vatican spokesman appeared to be unfazed by the announcement by the Auld Sod that its embassy would close. Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J., who serves at the chief spokesman for Pope Benedict XVI spoke in response to a note issued by the Irish Foreign Ministry that it would close, "for economic reasons", its embassies in the Holy See and Iran, and its office of representation in East Timor.
Said Rev. Lombardi "The Holy See takes note of the decision by Ireland to close its embassy in Rome to the Holy See. Of course, any State which has diplomatic relations with the Holy See is free to decide, according to its possibilities and its interests, whether to have an ambassador to the Holy See resident in Rome, or resident in another country. What is important are diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the States, and these are not at issue with regard to Ireland ".
In July, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny launched a stinging attack on the Vatican, following the release of the so-called Cloyne Report on the abuse of children on the part of Catholic clerics and other religious. Kenny said the Cloyne report exposed the Vatican as seeking to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse for its own benefit.
"The rape and torture of children were downplayed or 'managed' to uphold, instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and reputation," he told Ireland's lower house of parliament, or Dail, as it debated a motion on the report. Following the report, the Vatican recalled its diplomatic representative from Dublin, a move widely seen as a sign of a distinct chill in relations between the Vatican and an historically Catholic country.