Monday 23 July 2018

Fewer than 600,000 set to turn out for Pope this time

Pope Francis waves to the crowd during a pastoral visit to the Mary Theotokos Shrine near Grosseto, Tuscany, yesterday. Photo: HO/AFP/Getty Images
Pope Francis waves to the crowd during a pastoral visit to the Mary Theotokos Shrine near Grosseto, Tuscany, yesterday. Photo: HO/AFP/Getty Images

Darragh McDonagh

Fewer than 600,000 people are expected to attend the Phoenix Park for the visit of Pope Francis on August 26 - less than half the number who saw Pope John Paul II there in 1979.

The Office of Public Works (OPW), which is responsible for the park, is preparing for the papal visit on the assumption that the number of attendees will not exceed 600,000 on the day.

An estimated 1.25 million people gathered in the Phoenix Park for an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in September 1979.

Although the attendance for Francis's visit is expected to be less than half this number, extensive preparatory work is still required and the OPW plans to remove all gates to the park in order to accommodate the crowds and to install 'welfare hubs'.

"It is expected that the number of people visiting the park that day will not exceed 600,000," said Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran in response to a parliamentary question.

Irish Independent

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