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Plisko Julius, from Slovakia, impersonating late Pope John Paul II this week as tourists flocked to the Vatican. Gregorio Borgia/AP/Press Association Images

Taoiseach in the Vatican for Canonisation of two popes

Enda Kenny is Ireland’s official representative at the Mass.

THE TAOISEACH WILL travel to the Vatican today to attend the Canonisation of two popes by the Catholic Church.

Enda Kenny will be Ireland’s official representative at the Mass.

The service for Pope John XIII and Pope John Paul II will be held at St Peter’s Square at about 9am, Irish time.

It will be shown live on RTÉ One television.

Rome has readied itself for the arrival of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims this morning for the historic event.

At least 19 heads of state are on the invite list, as are 24 heads of government.

Former pope, Benedict XVI, who stepped down last year, is also expected to attend.

Nineteen screen will be set up around the city which will follow the ceremony in a number of languages, including Arabic, French, Italian, Polish and Spanish.

In Numbers

As well as the VIPs, the Vatican is expecting 800,000 pilgrims today. Which means:

  • A €7.8 million local authority spend to ensure readiness;
  • 4,300 coaches will drive into Rome;
  • Of those, 1,700 will be coming from Poland;
  • There will also be 58 charter flights from Poland and 5 special trains;
  • An extra 2,000 police officers will be on the streets;
  • And 2,400 security officers will be specially deployed;
  • More than 2,600 volunteers have been drafted in from the civil protection agency;
  • 4 million bottles of water will be give out for free;
  • 1,000 cleaners will help keep the streets tidy
  • 600 Catholic volunteers will help with other jobs and tasks.
  • Rented accommodation is up to 173 per cent more expensive than usual.

Additional reporting by AFP

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