Wednesday 16 January 2019

Knock in lock-down when the pontiff visits shrine

Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine on August 25
Pope Francis will visit Knock Shrine on August 25
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

People without tickets to see Pope Francis in Knock will not get within 10km of the shrine, gardaí have warned.

The Mayo village will go into lock-down except for residents from 6pm on the day before Pope Francis's visit.

Security screening will begin in Claremorris with motorists travelling in private cars being required to show their tickets at roadside checkpoints.

Pope Francis will fly into Knock on Saturday, August 25, at 9.20am and be immediately escorted to the shrine.

Just 45,000 tickets have been made available for the event, which will see him take part in the Angelus.

By 10.45am the Pontiff will be on his way back to Knock airport for a flight back to the capital.

For security reasons it has been decided that there will be no opportunities to see the Pope either arriving or leaving the Co Mayo airport.

Only those named on airline passenger lists and those transporting named passengers will be able to access the airport between 12 midnight on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday.

A 30km section of the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

There will be designated parking areas for buses on the N17.

Organisers are promising that those who travel by bus, either publicly or privately owned, will only have to walk in the region of 1km to reach the shrine.

Irish Rail is also planning to operate special trains in addition to their usual scheduled services.

Shuttle buses will run between Claremorris Train Station and Knock. It is not yet known what time the shrine will open to the public but it is likely to be in the early hours of the morning.

Those travelling are being urged to arrive early to ensure ease of access.

Superintendent Tom Calvey said: "If it's not feasible to use coaches, I'd encourage people to car pool.

"If everybody brings their car, I don't think 'significant' would describe the length that people will have to walk. It's just not feasible to facilitate 20,000 cars."

Irish Independent

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