No special licence needed for pontiff’s Croke Park appearance

‘If we can’t get the Rolling Stones stopped, we’d have little chance of stopping the pope’

Pope Francis is due to arrive in Dublin on August 25th and will take part in the Festival of Families in Croke Park. Photograph: AP

Pope Francis is due to arrive in Dublin on August 25th and will take part in the Festival of Families in Croke Park. Photograph: AP

 

The “faith-based cultural concert” to take place at Croke Park during the visit of Pope Francis will not require a special licence by Dublin City Council despite becoming the fifth big event to be held at the stadium this year.

On Wednesday, the Irish Catholic bishops said the pope would arrive in Dublin on August 25th and would take part in the Festival of Families in Croke Park. They described the event as a “faith-based cultural concert”.

However, the event will bring to five the number of concerts to take place at the stadium this year. Croke Park has planning permission to host three “special events” per year under its licence granted by Dublin City Council.

Event promoters can apply for additional special event licences, but Dublin City Council has said the Croke Park concert during Pope Francis’s visit will not require another licence.

Special permission

Taylor Swift is to play two dates at the stadium in June, while Michael Bublé is lined up to play a concert in July. Aiken Promotions meanwhile was granted special permission on Tuesday to bring the Rolling Stones to Croke Park in May.

A council spokeswoman said an “overall outdoor licence” covering events related to the World Meeting of Families was expected to be submitted in due course.

“As there are various proposed large scale events in August associated with the World Meeting of Families in Dublin City, including the pope’s visit, Dublin City Council’s understanding is that one overall outdoor event licence application covering events in the RDS, Croke Park and the Phoenix Park will be submitted in due course,” she said.

Clonliffe and Croke Park Area Residents’ Association chairman Pat Gates said part of the group’s arrangement with the stadium was that it be tolerant of “one-off events” such as this – but only if the stadium respected the “three concerts per year” agreement.

“We had an arrangement with Croke Park whereby if special one-off events that happen once in a blue moon were to occur, such as the Special Olympics, that we wouldn’t have a problem with that,” he said.

‘Five concerts’

“We said we would have no problem with that if they adhered to the three concerts rule, but they haven’t done that. There are going to be five concerts now so we’re not happy about it.

“In terms of mounting some sort of an opposition, if we can’t get the Rolling Stones stopped, we’d have little chance of stopping the pope when it’s the GAA and the Catholic Church involved.”

The World Meeting of Families is taking place in Dublin from August 21st-26th. The pope will preside at the closing ceremonies on the final two days.

He will arrive in Dublin on Saturday August 25th for the concluding events of the World Meeting of Families and be chief celebrant at the final mass of the event in Dublin’s Phoenix Park on Sunday August 26th.