Taoiseach says booking papal tickets and not attending ‘petty, mean-spirited’

Pope Francis visit expected to cost ‘more than €10 million but less than €20 million’

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has condemned people block-booking tickets for the papal visit and planning not to attend as a protest.

“I firmly believe such actions, if they are happening, are wrong, petty and mean-spirited,” he said.

He was responding to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who said he hoped “reports of people trying to get hold of hundreds of tickets to block people from going to the main events are untrue. If such actions occurred, they would be petty, intolerant and certainly the opposite of progressive,” he said in the Dáil.

The Taoiseach agreed: “Protest is legitimate and okay, but denying other people the opportunity to attend a Mass or an event is not legitimate protest in my view and is most unfair. It should be condemned.”


He also told Opposition leaders that the Government did not have a cost or budget yet for security for the visit of Pope Francis "but we estimate it will be in the same ball park as Queen Elizabeth's visit".

It would “probably be more than €10 million and less than €20 million but that is only an estimate at this stage”.

Not involved

Asked his role during the papal visit, the Taoiseach said he was not involved and nor was his office in organising any delegations to meet Pope Francis.

He will attend the event in Dublin Castle and the Mass in the Phoenix Park, in his Dublin West constituency.

“I am unsure how long my meeting with the pope will be, whether it will be one-to-one, or long or short.”

But Mr Varadkar said he would use the opportunity to welcome him to Ireland on behalf of the Irish people “and I think he will be most welcome”.

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran

Marie O'Halloran is Parliamentary Correspondent of The Irish Times