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Sam Boal
Controlled Access Zone

Confusion among Dublin residents over widespread road closures for Pope's visit

Some residents told us that they haven’t been informed how the closures will affect them across the weekend.

MOVEMENT WILL BE restricted across a huge segment of Dublin city during the Papal visit next Sunday and some residents are complaining that they have not been made aware how they will be affected.

With over 500,000 people expected to attend the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park on 26 August, the gardaí and the National Transport Authority have designed a large-scale transportation plan.

The plan includes creating a broad ‘Controlled Access Zone‘ which will encompass a significant portion of the city, extending from the quays to Ballymount, on the south side, and to Finglas, on the north side.

controlled-access The Controlled Access Zone Dublin City Council Dublin City Council

Closures and restrictions

The road closures actually get underway on Friday when Cathedral Street in the city centre will be closed at 10am.

Saturday will see 52 different road closures in Dublin between the hours of 6am and 7pm as Pope Francis attends various events around the city. Parking will also be suspended on 16 different streets from 6am to 5.15pm.

The Festival of Families event at Croke Park is expected to attract 70,000 to GAA headquarters. Because of the size of the crowd the normal traffic management plan for All Ireland finals will be implemented.

Sunday will see 86 different road closures as a wide chunk of the city falls into the Controlled Access Zone.

pope-closure-map Road closures on Sunday August 26 Dublin City Council Dublin City Council

This will encompass many of Dublin’s busiest routes including the Navan Road, the North Quays, most of the South Quays and parts of both the North and South Circular Roads.

A full list of closures is available here.

Taxis will also be excluded from the zone and the taxi ranks at Heuston Station and Aston Quay will not be operational.

Emergency routes will be maintained throughout the duration of the restrictions and Dublin City Council said that local access will be “facilitated as far as possible”.

That ambiguity has led to some frustration for some residents who say they have not been told if they will be allowed drive or what they will need to prove that they live in the area.

Louise Gallagher, who lives beside the Phoenix Park, told that she has yet to receive any information from the council, as was done with previous high-profile visits.

“I’m pretty annoyed about the lack of information to be honest,” she said.

I understand that the event is a big deal for lots of people and of course they can’t suit everyone, but they could at least do us the courtesy of giving us information about whether we can leave and return to our homes over a 17 hour period! Will we have to carry ID? Proof of address? Can we drive out or will it only be pedestrian access at best?

The concerns were echoed by another resident, Catherine Brodigan, who said that she received an information pack in the post on Thursday but it failed to clear up her queries about local access.

“No idea if we can get out in the car, if we had to, and what we’d need to have on hand to prove we’re local,” she said.

‘Meticulously planned’

While residents have queries about access, several funeral homes said they are satisfied that the event won’t disrupt how they provide their service over the course of the weekend.

A spokesperson for Lanigans Funeral Directors said they are very satisfied with the support they have been given by the Office of Public Works and they anticipate no significant inconvenience.

“Everything has been put in place to support us and it’s all meticulously planned. The communication has been terrific. We’ve been given very detailed Ordnance Survey maps and emergency plans. We’ve been told everything we need to know two to three weeks in advance,” the spokesperson said.

There will be no disruption to how we operate and, vitally, there will be no disruption for the bereaved.

Two other prominent Dublin funeral directors said they don’t anticipate any significant problems due to the traffic restrictions, though a spokesperson for Staffords said it won’t open its branch on North Frederick Street on the Sunday.

Getting to the Phoenix Park

For anyone attending the closing Mass on Sunday, Gardaí have repeatedly stressed that public transport is the best way to get to the Phoenix Park.

Public transport is free throughout Dublin for everyone attending the Mass and all of the service providers will be operating at maximum capacity.

Pope-visit-transport Public transport options. Transport for Ireland Transport for Ireland

Dublin Bus will have seven dedicated transport hubs, throughout the city, to bring people as close as possible to the Phoenix Park.

Despite the extensive public transport plan people will still face a significant walk no matter what route they take to the event.

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