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South Dublin Council won't be flying the Vatican flag, but this Texaco is

Councillors voted down a motion to fly the papal flag over county hall during the Pope’s visit in August.

Texaco petrol in Newcastle is flying the Vatican flag.
Texaco petrol in Newcastle is flying the Vatican flag.

SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY Council recently voted down a motion to fly the papal flag outside county hall for the duration of the Pope Francis’ visit, but a Texaco petrol station in Newcastle in Dublin is flying one on its forecourt.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, co-owner Seamus Kelly said the reason for doing so is because the proprietor of the station, Dora Kelly, closed the station in 1979 to bring the family to see the Pope John II in Phoenix Park.

He said the family have great memories of the day and while the station will be open this August, there will be lots of families making their way to Dublin to see the Pope.

With the flag flying high over the station, he said it will be seen as the “perfect pit stop” for people making the journey to the park.

“Newcastle is a very small village, with a great sense of community. It is a diverse town, with people from all different backgrounds living here… they’ve all given us the thumbs up for flying it overhead,” he said.

The flag is to acknowledge the visit of the Pope, said Seamus, who pointed out they “are not courting popularity or controversy” by doing so. “It is just something we are doing for ourselves.”

Roads will be chock-a-block

“Half a million people will be making their way up from all corners of the country. The N7, which were are located near, will be chock-a-block, so there will be big spin-off for local businesses,” said Seamus.

Renua Councillor Ronan McMahon who put down the motion to fly the papal flag outside the council building commended the station on Twitter for flying the Vatican flag.

“We can do better South Dublin County Council,” he said.

McMahon told TheJournal.ie that he was “very disappointed” at the result of the council vote, stating that the local authority has flown many other flags such as the Pride flag and Palestinian flag in the past.

“I thought we were a more mature and tolerant society,” he said, adding that the papal flag would mean a lot more to the local people than the Palestinian flag.

He said the Catholic Church does a lot in Ireland to help the homeless, and pointed out that the Pope is visiting the Capuchin Centre when he is in Dublin. McMahon also highlighted that in the last Census over 78% of people said they identified as Catholic.

“They might not all be practicing, but in the comfort of their own home, they ticked the box,” he said.

The councillor said the Pope is the head of State for the Vatican, and local authorities, such as South Dublin County Council should recognise the visit.

A spokesperson for the council said there were “contributions from various councillors” about the proposal to fly the flag. However, “a vote was subsequently taken on the motion and the motion was not approved”, they said. It was defeated by 11 votes to nine.

While Seamus said his family had not been following the political aspect of the flying the flag, he said the council should find a way to represent itself.

He said the visit will bring “ecclesiastical tourism” to parts of Ireland and “all eyes” will be on the country in terms of the visit.

While the flag is already up the flagpole, it will be flying next to the green Limerick flag this weekend, said Dora, who added that they were hoping for some “divine intervention” for the hurling semi-final in Croke Park this weekend.

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