Sunday 25 June 2017

From Irish Water to the Holy See

Environment Minister Alan Kelly and his mother Nan Kelly (glasses) meet Pope Francis at the Vatican this week
Environment Minister Alan Kelly and his mother Nan Kelly (glasses) meet Pope Francis at the Vatican this week
Lise Hand

Lise Hand

When Pope Francis invited the EU's environment ministers to the Vatican this week for a meeting on climate change, the politicians were asked to bring a guest - a partner, a spouse or an advisor. But Alan Kelly is no fool and took along his Ma as his plus-one for the papal audience.

"I think I was the only minister in the room who had brought along their mother," he said.

The minister described his 75-year old mother, Nan, as "a devout Catholic" who has made more than 30 pilgrimages to Lourdes and who travels to Belarus every year to work in the orphanages.

"It was a dream fulfilled for her," said Mr Kelly, who introduced Nan to Pope Francis as he greeted each minister. "He's incredibly charismatic and warm. It was a very emotional experience.

"He asked us to do our best and work with each other and show leadership to the developing world on the issue. He spoke very simply and directly."

The Pope called the meeting ahead of the council of environment ministers in Brussels when the EU position on global warming will be hammered out in advance of the UN climate change summit in November.

So did the beleaguered minister for H2O ask Il Papa if he would pray for a solution to the Irish Water soggy mess?

"No, I didn't ask for any miracles," he confessed.

In fairness to the Pope, that would be an even bigger ask than the resurrection of Lazarus.

Irish Independent

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