‘Families in all shapes and forms should be celebrated’ – Taoiseach

FF papal visit volunteer concerned at Church not welcoming ‘non-traditional families’

The Government will make it known to the organisers of the Pope’s visit in August to celebrate the world meeting of families that “families in all their shapes and forms should be celebrated”, the Taoiseach has said.

Leo Varadkar told the Dáil “the Government is very much of the view that there are many different types of family and all types of family should be celebrated”.

He added “that’s in line with the Government’s commitment to personal liberty and equality before the law”.

The Government will make its view known through the Irish embassy to the Holy See, it will not “try to impose that view on a religious body”.


Mr Varadkar was responding to concerns expressed by Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy that the Catholic Church might welcome only traditional families to the meeting in Dublin, which Pope Francis will attend on August 25th and 26th.

Mr Troy, who said he had signed up to be a volunteer at the event, said “originally the Catholic Church produced pamphlets and booklets demonstrating more than traditional Irish family”.

But he added that “they’ve moved away from welcoming the non-traditional Irish family”.

“And given the fact that it was as a country one of the first to have a referendum to establish marriage equality in the gay community, I think that is regrettable.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin had said that a “very positive way to approach the visit would be if politicians refrained from trying to tell the Pope what he should and should not do while he is here”.

The Taoiseach described the visit as of an historic nature akin to the Papal visit in 1979 and Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 2011. He said it was appropriate that the Government should meet the security costs of the visit and said the vast majority of people would welcome Pope Francis and “would want us to meet the costs of this historic visit”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times