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getting cross

'The Irish harp on the same pass as the Papal cross sends the wrong message'

Councillor Gary Gannon called passes issued to health workers at St James’s Hospital during the papal visit “entirely inappropriate”.

PastedImage-96797 Cllr Gary Gannon Cllr Gary Gannon

A DUBLIN INNER city councillor has criticised passes issued to hospital staff during the papal visit because they feature a prominent religious symbol.

Social Democrats Councillor Gary Gannon shared emails on social media that he received from some staff members at St James’s Hospital who were told they must present the “essential workers pass” to get through garda cordons around the city if travelling by car to work.

Gannon called the passes “entirely inappropriate” as people of various and no faiths are required to carry these symbols to get to work.

“With the legacy of church and state collusion in this country, the Irish harp on the same pass as the Papal cross really sends the wrong message, symbols are important,” Gannon said.

In response to complaints by Councillor Gannon, the Office of Public Works issued the following statement:

“The pass in question for Dublin shows an image of the steps and the Papal Cross which represents the closing event taking place in the Phoenix Park on Sunday 26 August. Similarly, essential staff in the Knock area received a pass with an image of the Basilica.

“Passes were issued to designated authorising officer and not individuals across all relevant organisations who was responsible for ensuring that the appropriate staff received a pass to show to authorities to enable them to get to their work.

“Given the size and scale of the events that are happening around the country next weekend in addition to the numbers of essential workers involved, it would not be feasible to reissue passes to essential staff.”

Church Street

There will be a number of road closures affecting both workers and residents as the city gears up for the Pope’s visit this weekend.

One of  Pope Francis’ stops on Saturday will be at the Capuchin Day Centre just off Church Street, which will see that street shut down.

While access to this street will be limited during that time, residents have had to provide the names of who will be present in their homes on the day and have been issued with wristbands, limited to four per household.

IMAG0220 (1) Preparations underway on Church Street for the Papal Visit

On Church Street, a resident told that security restrictions are over the top but “having said that, I’m not privy to security”.

However, she raised concerns about the number of wristbands that would be issued to each house.

“The gardaí went around the area and took a list, not of names but of how many people would be present on Saturday but then we got notices in the door that said you were only allowed four people per household.

“Now there are quite a few families around here that are large, there’s one family in particular that I’m thinking of, there’s 14 in that family.

“To choose four of those people, I think it could be breaking up families and not meeting with families, in that aspect of things.

“Another issue is that the people who are issuing wristbands, they aren’t asking for numbers, they are asking for names and forms of ID,” she said.

IMAG0213 Flyer sent to residents of the Church Street area

The resident added that the lockdown on Church Street is outweighed by the Pope’s visit to Brother Kevin at the Capuchin Day Centre.

“In regards to being locked down, I’m sure it will annoy somebody, but it doesn’t annoy me at a minute, but you wouldn’t take that away from Brother Kevin.

“As a community, we would support Brother Kevin, the people of the area have tremendous respect for him and it is a great honour for him,” she said.

This was a sentiment shared by many of the residents, a lot of who had buntings and flags out in preparation for Saturday.


Church Street resident Celine Flood said that she couldn’t get through to the number on the flyer handed out to locals but wasn’t worried because she doesn’t need more than four wristbands.

She added that most residents do not mind the hassle because “it’s only for a one day and for Brother Kevin”.

“I was only 11 when Pope John Paul came but it’s nice to say in your lifetime that you saw two Popes,” Flood said.

Tommy Lyons, who stood in his front garden alongside Pope Francis bunting, told that he was looking forward to the visit.

“I saw the last Pope, brilliant it was.”

The restrictions across the city are due to a large-scale transportation plan designed by gardaí and the National Transport Authority, which includes a broad ‘Controlled Access Zone‘ which will encompass a significant portion of the city.

The road closures actually get underway on Friday when Cathedral Street in the city centre will be closed at 10am.

Saturday will see 52 different road closures in Dublin between the hours of 6am and 7pm as Pope Francis attends various events around the city.

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