David Norris repeats view that Pope Francis should be invited to Ireland

Independent Senator calls for ‘some movement’ by the Government on the issue

Senator David Norris: ‘I want to push for a visit through this public forum and let the people of Ireland know that the Government is sitting on the matter and doing nothing.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Senator David Norris: ‘I want to push for a visit through this public forum and let the people of Ireland know that the Government is sitting on the matter and doing nothing.’ Photograph: Alan Betson

Thu, Jul 17, 2014, 01:01

Independent Senator David Norris has again said Pope Francis should be invited to visit Ireland.

He said he had initially raised the issue in January and a request was unanimously put through the Committee on Procedure and Privileges in February and sent to the Government.

“I would like to have an answer on it, or at least a partial one,’’ he added. “I would like to see some movement by the Government.’’

Mr Norris said all of the churches had welcomed his proposal and stated it would be very good if the visit took place. “Remarkably, the leader of the DUP, Peter Robinson, has said he would meet the pope,’’ he added. “That would be a considerable advance in the complex structures of Northern Ireland. ’’

He said the pope was a man who was not stifled by bureaucracy and, he believed, would definitely come to Ireland if invited.

Seanad leader Maurice Cummins said the matter was due to be considered by the Committee on Procedure and Privileges and there would be an update on Mr Norris’s proposal.

Sitting on the matter

Mr Norris said he imagined it would be another acknowledgment by the Government that it had been received. “I want to push for a visit through this public forum and let the people of Ireland know that the Government is sitting on the matter and doing nothing,’’ he added.

He noted the new Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, was from his county of Laois, and he thought he might do something about it. He said if the Government did not want the visit to take place, it should say so.