Mr Gilmore's rejection of the demands from within Fine Gael puts him at odds with reported commitments from Taoiseach Enda Kenny to review the embassy closure. Junior FG ministerLucinda Creighton yesterday said the embassy could be re-opened within two years.
Discontent about the Vatican embassy closure led to a series of dramatic, and sometimes farcical, clashes at a Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting last week. During the meeting, over half the TDs called for the re-opening of the embassy.
One of the most surreal moments saw TD Peter Mathews brandish a set of rosary beads at the "secularist members of the party". The meeting became so heated that senior ministers Michael Noona and James Reilly had to intervene to calm the mood.
Mr Noonan stressed "Enda's credentials as a sound Catholic" and at one point claimed that "he is a better Catholic than myself".