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Dublin: 17 °C Monday 15 July, 2019

'Welcome to Pope Francis ... but' - Ha'penny Bridge demonstration marks pope's arrival

People were demonstrating about LGBT issues, women’s ordination and clerical abuse.

hap Rainbow flags and blue ribbons on the Ha'Penny Bridge in Dublin city today. Source: Niall Carson/PA Wire/PA Images

CAMPAIGNERS CALLING FOR accountability on clerical abuse, the ordination of women and inclusion of LGBT Catholics in the Church staged a short demonstration on Dublin’s Ha’penny Bridge this morning, as the city prepared for the visit of Pope Francis.

We Are Church Ireland, the group spearheaded by journalist and broadcaster Ursula Halligan, organised the event. They were joined by other LGBT campaigners and a group from Women’s Ordination Worldwide, who are holding a conference in Co Kildare this weekend.

Colm Moore of We Are Church Ireland said it was not a protest. They wanted to welcome the pope to the city – “we’re putting a big ‘but’ in there as well”.

“We’re asking him for justice for three main issues – the abused, and we’re standing in solidarity with them, we’re standing in solidarity for justice for women in the Catholic Church and we’re here looking for justice for LGBTQI people.”

The group had garda permission for a five minute demonstration on the bridge – and mounted a display of rainbow flags and umbrellas, alongside purple umbrellas in support of women’s ordination.

A volunteer tied blue ribbons, in support of abuse victims, to the bridge’s railings.

A large-scale protest is being organised by campaigner Colm O’Gorman at the Garden of Remembrance at 3pm tomorrow in support of abuse survivors, to coincide with the start of the pope’s Mass in the Phoenix Park.

There were beeps of support from passing cars and buses as the demonstration took place, and a small number of international reporters and media crews interviewed participants alongside Irish journalists.

Steel barriers were being placed along the route of the pope’s planned parade through the city this morning, and there was a large garda presence around the city centre area with road closures in place.

The pope arrived at Dublin airport shortly before 11am this morning and will address government ministers and other invited guests at an event at Dublin Castle at lunchtime today. The parade takes place from around 4.15pm this afternoon and he will attend the Catholic Church’s Festival of Families tonight at Croke Park.

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