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Enda's diplomatic mission: Taoiseach to pledge 'government support' for Pope's visit to Ireland

The Taoiseach is set to meet Pope Francis in The Vatican on Monday morning.

Image: Niall Carson PA Archive/PA Images

TAOISEACH ENDA KENNY is set to meet Pope Francis in the Vatican next week, where he will personally express his support for the Pope’s proposed visit to Ireland.

Irish Catholic Bishops have extended an invitation to the pontiff last month to visit Ireland to attend the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in 2018.

The invitation was officially acknowledged by the Papal Nuncio to Ireland Charles Brown who conveyed the “gratitude of Pope Francis” in return and assured the archbishops that it would be “given careful consideration”.

This is not the first time that the Pope has been invited to visit Ireland. Cardinal Sean Brady issued an invitation to Pope Francis in 2013 and, prior to his retirement, Pope Benedict XVI was said to have been considering an offer to come to Ireland.

The Taoiseach has requested this meeting with Pope Francis following the bishop’s invite, and the pair will meet at the Apostolic Palace in The Vatican at 10am on Monday morning.

A Government statement said: “The Taoiseach will also take the opportunity to personally welcome the decision by Pope Francis to hold the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018.

“He will express the full support of the Government for the invitation by the Irish Bishops Conference [...] and assure the Pope that the normal state courtesies and support will be extended to him  if he decides to come to Ireland.”

The pair are also set to discuss issues such as bilateral relations, developments in the European Union and migration at the meeting on Monday.

Since his election to the title in 2013, Pope Francis has visited countries such as Cuba, Brazil and the US, while also visiting the Middle East.

If Pope Francis comes to Ireland in 2018, it will be the first papal visit to Ireland in almost 40 years, since Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1979.

pope jp Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland. Source: Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment

Read: Poll: If the Pope does visit Ireland in 2018, will you go see him?

Read: Ireland has officially invited Pope Francis over for tea in 2018

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Sean Murray

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