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Pope Benedict expected to visit Ireland in 2012

The Vatican has not confirmed reports of a papal visit as part of the International Eucharistic Congress in June next year.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Image: AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito

THE POPE IS expected to visit Ireland in June next year according to a report today.

The Vatican has not confirmed the report in today’s Irish Independent, but Pope Benedict XVI is expected to be the chief celebrant at an open air mass to mark the end of a week-long International Eucharistic Congress on 17 June at Dublin’s Croke Park.

It would be only the second visit by a pontiff to the Republic and the first since Pope John Paul II visited Ireland in 1979.

A confirmation of the papal visit by the Vatican would not be likely until early next year.

However preparations for the Eucharistic Congress are ongoing with a programme of events to be launched at a press conference in Dublin today.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that it is also hoped the Pope will make a visit to Northern Ireland for the first time as part of the trip.

There were plans for the last Pope to visit the North as part of the 1979 trip, but Provisional IRA violence resulted in the arrangements being cancelled.

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Hugh O'Connell

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