Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin has welcomed the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new Pope.
Deputy Martin commented: “I wish to extend my congratulations to Cardinal Bergoglio on his election as Pope Francis.
“This is truly a joyous occasion for the Catholic community here in Ireland and across the world. It is also a historic day as Pope Francis becomes the first Jesuit and also first South American to lead the church.
“Pope Francis faces enormous challenges as head of the Catholic Church and I wish him well in addressing these issues.
“It is my sincere hope that relations between the Vatican and Ireland continue to be strong and warm. This is also an opportune time for the Irish Government to look at restoring the Irish embassy in the Vatican. When the Irish Ambassador was removed last year, the Government said it would revisit this decision. It is important for Ireland to have a strong relationship with the Holy See given the significant influence and global reach it has on human rights and world affairs.”