McAleese hits out at Pope's 'bad manners' over letter
Former President Mary McAleese has accused Pope Francis of "bad manners" as she revealed he never responded to a letter sent to him about being barred from entering the Vatican.
Ms McAleese, president from 1997 to 2011, was to give a speech in the city in March, on Women's Day, until she was told she was barred from entry. She eventually gave her speech at the annual 'Voices of Faith' in Rome.
"I never received an acknowledgment of the letter. It was sent by diplomatic bag.
"The Archbishop Okolo, who is the nuncio here, went to great lengths to make sure it reached the holy father.
"He regarded it as urgent. So here we are just a little bit over six months later and I have received neither an acknowledgment nor a considered reply," she told the Irish Independent.
"I think that's regrettable. I also think it's bad manners."
She was very disappointed with the absence of a response. "I'm a Catholic and I had faith in institutions and in particular I had faith in this Pope," she said.
She said Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was responsible for barring her, did so as a deliberate and personal insult.
"The intervention of Cardinal Farrell, who after all is the mastermind of this papal visit, I have to say that his decision to exclude me was done very deliberately.
"It was a deliberate, personal insult to me. It was designed to send a message to me."