TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore today gave his strongest indication yet that he is willing to reopen the Irish embassy in the Vatican.
The Labour Party Leader is in favour of a 'two ambassadors one building model' - similar to the one used by the UK.
The decision to close the embassy to the Holy See in 2011 was met with strong opposition and was particularly unpopular among members of Fine Gael.
Officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs are now expected to draw up a proposal which will see the embassy reopened.
"If the Vatican is willing to accept the arrangement of two ambassadors, one building, we would look at it positively," Mr Gilmore's spokesman said today.
Fine Gael backbenchers are hopeful that a new embassy to the Vatican could be up and running in the new year.
A review of the embassy network - ordered by the Tanaiste - will be discussed at a meeting of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs committee tomorrow.
Its chairman, Fine Gael TD Pat Breen, said he was very hopeful that Mr Gilmore would be making an announcement shortly about re-opening the Vatican embassy in the new year.
"Shutting down the Vatican embassy caused a lot of unnecessary bad publicity. It was as if Ireland didn't want to have a relationship with the Vatican, which is totally untrue," he said.