Monday 23 October 2017

Vatican embassy cost just €15k to run last year

Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

THE newly re-opened Irish Embassy in the Vatican cost the State just under €15,000 to operate last year, the Department of Foreign Affairs has said.

The office in the Holy See was the cheapest to run of all Irish embassies and consulates, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The overall bill to operate the embassy - the closure of which sparked major controversy - was €14,475 since its reopening.

More than €44m was spent on operating Ireland's diplomatic network, including 61 embassies, seven multi-lateral missions and 12 consulates.

"Through them, we maintain diplomatic relations with 176 states," the department told the Irish Independent.

More than €28m of the overall bill for 2014 relates to salaries, the figures show. Almost €4.4m was spent on the operation of the London embassy, the largest single bill last year.

Over €3.2m was forked out on salaries for embassy officials, while more than €730,000 was spent on premises costs at the Westminster-based office.

The Irish embassy in Paris cost over €2.86m to run last year. More than €1.8m was spent on operating the embassy in Washington DC.

Among the cheapest embassies from the taxpayers' perspective were the Holy See, Bangkok, Jakarta and Zagreb - which was also reopened last year. However, the Holy See bill will be higher in the coming years as its reopening was only announced in January.

The decision to shut the office was seen by some as a snub to the Catholic Church.

Irish Independent

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