LISTEN: The first time Archbishop of Dublin revealed Pope will come to Ireland
Published 20/05/2016 | 02:30
The Pope will visit Ireland, according to one of the country's most senior clergyman.
The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, has revealed that Pope Francis has accepted an invitation to attend the World Meeting of Families event in the capital.
The Vatican-sponsored event, which occurs every three years, is due to take place in Dublin in 2018.
Listen to the Archbishop speak about a potential Papal visit from 30 minutes
The last event was held in Philadelphia in 2015.
Asked in an interview with the Irish Independent's Paul Williams whether he had invited the Pontiff to visit Ireland, Dr Martin said he had.
"Yes, I have and he said 'I will come' and he said 'if I don't come, my successor will come', so I think we're on the road," he added.
Dr Martin said that while Pope Francis has health problems, he is still happy carrying out his work.
"He has a very clear pattern every day. He knows exactly what he does.
"He knows his health problems but he's happy in his job and I think that's an important thing. If you're happy in your job, you do better," he said.
Dr Martin will oversee the World Meeting of Families when it takes place in Dublin in two years' time.
The first and only papal visit to Ireland took place in 1979, when Pope John Paul II visited Dublin, Knock, Limerick, Drogheda and Galway.
The Pope's representative in Ireland, Archbishop Charles Brown, has signalled his hope that an announcement concerning a visit by the Pontiff was in the pipeline.
Dr Brown previously said that it was his "fervent hope" that the possibility of the Pope visiting Ireland at some point will be realised.
He referred to Taoiseach Enda Kenny's invitation to Pope Francis in April 2013, when he said if the Irish bishops invited the Pontiff, the government would support their request.
"Pope Francis is well aware that many people in Ireland would love for him to come and visit," Dr Brown said.
"The Taoiseach himself mentioned that to the Pope and other people have mentioned it to the Pope.
"So he is really well aware of the desire for a papal visit in Ireland."
"I think Ireland would be a marvellous place for him to visit in the European context," he added.