Government prepares for Pope’s arrival as if it were State visit

Pope Francis will visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families. Photograph:  Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

 

The Government is preparing for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland later this year as if it were a State visit.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said “even though it is not formally a State visit the assistance provided to Pope Francis will be the same as if it were.

“So Pope Francis will be given the full supports of the State in terms of protocol, security and any other matters.”

Mr Varadkar told Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and Labour leader Brendan Howlin who both raised the issue that “my department, through the protocol division, is assisting the Church authorities in the organisation and preparation to be made for that visit”.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families.

The event is held every three years and Ireland was picked as the location for the next meeting, described as the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families, a celebration of family life and of the Catholic Church’s commitment to support families.

Mr Adams asked about the possibility of the Pope visiting the North. He said the issue was raised two years ago and both then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster welcomed the prospect of a visit. Pope John Paul II did not go North during his papal visit to Ireland in 1979, Mr Adams said.

The Taoiseach said that “I understand from Archbishop (Diarmuid) Martin that the Pope’s major interest in the visit is attending at the World Meeting of Families” and events associated with that.

“Any decision on whether he visits Northern Ireland is of course a matter for him and the Vatican.”