80,000 likely to attend Mass in Croke Park


GARDAÍ ARE to mount a major traffic control operation around Dublin’s Croke Park this Sunday, as 80,000 participants arrive for the closing ceremony of the Eucharistic Congress.

As of yesterday, all but 1,000 tickets for positions in the higher stands had been sold and a capacity crowd is expected to start arriving as soon as gates open at about 11am. Tickets for the Mass cost €10.

The Statio Orbis Liturgy Mass at 1pm will be celebrated by the papal legate, Cardinal Marc Ouellet. It will include a pre-recorded address from Pope Benedict XVI.

RTÉ and cable and satellite stations Salt and Light Television and EWTN will broadcast the Mass on television and online.

The organisers have warned participants there is no coach parking at Croke Park. In conjunction with the Garda a drop-off/parking/ collection permit system for those attending the ceremonies has been arranged.

Permits were issued to 250 coaches already registered for coach parking. Those who did not receive a parking permit should arrange with their drivers to drop off and collect pilgrim groups from public transport points at the city limits. Bus, rail, Dart and Luas all offer services to within walking distance of the stadium, the organisers said.

Croke Park has facilities and dedicated seating for those with special needs as well as wheelchair access.

For those travelling to Dublin by car, gardaí have issued reminders that the stadium is situated in a residential area that has limited parking and which will be subject to access restrictions.

A cordon restricting access to locals only will be in operation from early morning at the following locations:

* Lower Drumcondra Road/ Clonliffe Road junction, Fitzroy Avenue and Whitworth Place;

* North Circular Road/ Belvedere Road;

* North Circular Road/Gills Corner, Jones Road;

* North Circular Road/North Great Charles Street;

* Clonliffe Road/Ballybough (Sackville Ave, Clonliffe Avenue, O’Sullivan Avenue).

Supervised car parking is available at Clonliffe College via Drumcondra Road Lower, offering 3,100 spaces, with 100 reserved for those with special needs.

Further supervised parking is available at O’Connell’s School off North Circular Road, but this offers just 400 parking places.

When the event finishes at 5pm traffic management plans will be in place for a further two hours, with a number of road closures, and motorists have been asked to avoid the area.

The city council operates a pay and display system for on-street parking in most areas.