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Minister Flanagan formally re-opens Irish Chancery to the Holy See

Minister holds discussions with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States


The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan TD, today (Friday) formally opened the new Irish Chancery to the Holy See. Earlier the Minister had a meeting with Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Holy See Secretary for Relations with States in The Vatican. 


Speech follows: 

Remarks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade

Mr. Charles Flanagan T.D.

Formal Opening of Embassy Holy See Chancery

17 March, 2017

Your Eminence, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Tá an-áthas orm a bheith anseo libh ar Lá Fhéile Pádraig é féin le Seansaireacht Ambasáid na hÉireann chuig an Suí Naofa a oscailt go hoifigiúil.

Ireland's Embassy network is a vital asset for us, as a small country, navigating a rapidly-changing global environment. Our Embassies support Ireland’s international cooperation and trade, they raise the profile of our country, our people and our culture. They find us new friends and partners. They inform our foreign policy, promote our values and defend our national interests. 

Each of our Embassies has a task as different as the countries and organisations to which they are accredited. That is perhaps particularly evident in the case of the Embassy of Ireland to the Holy See.   

The Holy See stands at the centre of a global faith community of well over a billion people. Pope Francis is a voice unlike any other. He has used that voice fearlessly in challenging the world to vindicate human dignity and human rights, eradicate poverty and hunger, tackle climate change, end conflicts, support sustainable development and to stand up for the values we all hold.

I can certainly confirm personally that we have much to talk about and much in common. I was delighted to have the chance to meet with Archbishop Gallagher just now and we covered a lot of ground. 

Like all old friends, Ireland and the Holy See have some different perspectives. That is normal in a bilateral relationship. At times, we will have difficult conversations. But we will also have many fruitful conversations about our shared values.  

Fundamentally we each believe we have a responsibility to work towards a world that is just, fair, safe and sustainable.

We share a belief in the importance of the multilateral system. We share a belief in a rules-based international order and the importance of dialogue and concerted action.

This is a dialogue at a number of levels - as when the Taoiseach met with Pope Francis and Secretary of State Parolin at the end of last year. 

Today Ireland is characterised by pluralism. Our deep historic faith means that the Church, of course has a place in Irish life well beyond the realm of formal diplomatic relations. Today we celebrate Ireland's national day together with the day of our Patron Saint. Indeed our national Saint, Patrick, was a victim of what we would now describe as human trafficking and it is appropriate that the fight against human trafficking is one of many on which the Holy See and Ireland cooperate currently.

I was delighted to learn of the many ways that the Embassy has been honouring the life and work of Irish people who have left their mark on the world through the church and inspired by their faith. 

From St Columbanus, to Monsignor O'Flaherty to the missionaries working in South Sudan and other areas of conflict to the present day.  

Ireland's missionary tradition is interwoven with the history of our global connectedness and our diaspora. It is part of who we are.

I would like to take this opportunity also to reiterate our warm welcome for the intention of Pope Francis to visit Ireland next year for the World Meeting of Families. This will be another landmark moment and one that will be of huge importance to so many Irish people and I assured Archbishop Gallagher that we will support it however appropriate.

Thank you all for joining us here today as we mark this important moment in the relationship between Ireland and the Holy See.