Eamon Gilmore’s lack of religious conviction may be suspected by some opponents to be a reason behind his decision to close the Vatican embassy but it is the courage of his own convictions that is really in question now.
Having made a firm decision on the matter, backed it with a reasonable argument and implemented it in an orderly fashion, he is now, in the face of increasingly vocal criticism, appearing to lose faith in his own logic.
He is in danger of losing authority in the process by failing to impose discipline on disgruntled members of his own party, never mind his Coalition partners.
And by beginning to entertain suggestions that the embassy could reopen given certain sets of conditions and concessions, he is allowing the issue to linger long after it should have been put to rest.
The move to withdraw from the Vatican was never going to be universally popular but that makes it no different from any other cutback he and every other minister is imposing.
The closure decision was made with clear resolve. Mr Gilmore now needs the same level of conviction to bring the resulting squabbles to a close too.
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