Ireland has appointed a new envoy to the Vatican, three years after Dublin closed down its embassy to save money.
The Vatican published a statement that Emma Madigan was received by Pope Francis having presented her credentials before having a private conversation with the pontiff and the Vatican’s number two Pietro Parolin.
Ms Madigan has worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 14 years and she was Assistant Chief of Protocol, preparing high profile visits to and from Ireland, including President Higgins’ State visit to the UK.
She succeeds the previous ambassador David Cooney, who is currently Ambassador of Ireland to Spain.
The Dublin embassy to the Vatican shut in 2011 with former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore stating financial reasons, that when coupled with closing the Irish embassy in Iran would save the country around the €1.25m a year.
However, the move was widely believed to be Ireland’s way of breaking the Catholic hierarchy’s influence in the country with interpretations of a Vatican cover up and interference in the Cloyne Report on clerical child abuse.
This January the Irish Government said that a scaled back ‘one person’ embassy would re-open to focus on development aid.