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Archbishop says Pope Francis' visit to Ireland will cost around €20 million

It is likely a visit to a prison will be part of Pope Francis’ itinerary when he comes to Ireland in August.

Pope Francis will be visiting Dublin next August
Pope Francis will be visiting Dublin next August
Image: Alessandra Tarantino/PA Images

THE CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has said that next year’s visit from Pope Francis to Ireland will cost around €20 million.

The pontiff is scheduled to come to Ireland for the world meeting of families in August 2018 and it will the first visit from a pope since John Paul II drew one million people to the Phoenix Park in 1979.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Archbishop Martin said that nothing about Frances’ itinerary had been finalised as of yet, but he had a few ideas over what the pope would be doing.

“He’d like to go to a prison,” Martin said. “Everywhere he goes, he goes to a prison.

He’d like to see and meet people who are experiencing poverty, so I imagine something for the homeless. I’d like him to meet with the travellers too. Show solidarity.

He said it is unlikely that Pope Francis would do much outside of the scheduled events for the world meeting of families, which includes a concert in Croke Park, and a mass in the Phoenix Park.

The pope’s advancing age – he’s now 81 – would mean his itinerary would not be as packed as John Paul II’s was in 1979.

“We had over one million in the Phoenix Park [for Pope John Paul II],” he said. “But we’re not looking at numbers, we’re looking at the quality of events.”

While it may be possible for the pope to go outside Dublin, he would mainly be here for the world meeting of families, Martin said.

As to the cost of the event, the archbishop said that church collections would bring in around €5 million, with the remaining costs to be recouped through donations.

On the question of whether they may be demonstrations against the pope, Martin added: “I don’t think there will be mass protests. People are entitled to protest. It’s a free country.”

Read: Government officials to meet next week to get plans underway for Pope Francis visit

Read: ‘Lead us not into temptation’: Pope Francis wants the words to the Our Father changed

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Sean Murray

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