Taoiseach says that the Irish Government ''will assist in any way'' to facilitate Papal visit in 2018
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced that the Irish Government will do all it can to facilitate Pope Francis' scheduled visit next year.
The Pope is scheduled to visit Ireland for the World Meeting of Families in August 2018. This will be the first visit from a pope since Pope John Paul II's spoke in Phoenix Park back in 1979. One million people were in attendance at the time.
According to Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, the pontiff's visit is set to cost around €20m.
The Archbishop went on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke to chat about what may potentially be on Francis' itinerary while in Ireland.
“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.''
The Taoiseach also said that the Government is due to meet with the Catholic Church in the new year to discuss the impending visit.
"They asked that we have someone here in the department as a contact point to assist them in the co-ordination and we made that available to them.
"We just don't know yet if it will be a very short visit just for the Meeting of World Families or whether it will be an extended visit involving other things such as Northern Ireland."
Varadkar also went on to say that the Government is "very much at (the) disposal" of the Catholic Church.
"The Government will assist in any way to facilitate Pope Francis's visit."
With regards to the cost of the event, Archbishop Martin said that church collections would bring in around €5 million, with the remaining costs to be recouped through donations.