Catholic Congress 'brought €33m to economy'
The Catholic Church's International Eucharistic Congress brought €33m into the economy, according to Anne Griffin, general manager of the event, after she was awarded the honour Best Event Manager of the Year at last week's Event Industry Awards in Dublin.
In total, the Congress picked up four awards, which Ms Griffin said was "an endorsement" for the "professionalism and significance of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress" and a recognition of its size and scale.
According to Ms Griffin, the Irish economy benefited to the tune of €33m, with more than 100,000 pilgrims attending the week-long event last year.
The Congress was not universally welcomed in Ireland or the Irish church and in the aftermath of the publication of the Cloyne Report, Fr Tony Flannery, co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests in Ireland, called for the congress to be postponed.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent recently, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin acknowledged that the congress had been criticised by some as "a waste of time and money".
While the numbers were smaller than hoped for, he said, after the congress was over: "Many people said to me they were sorry they didn't take it more seriously earlier on. A lot of priests told me they had been too sceptical and that when they actually went to the Congress they found it was something worthwhile."
Over 55 staff, 2,000 volunteers, business partners and the tens of thousands of people from 120 countries were involved in the Congress, which was held at the RDS and Croke Park from June 10 to 17 last year.