Tuesday 19 February 2019

In Pictures: Clean-up still underway at Phoenix Park 10 days after Pope Francis's visit

The scene of the Pope’s Mass in the Phoenix Park
The scene of the Pope’s Mass in the Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park.
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Phoenix Park officials have been slammed for the length of time it is taking to clear the park, more than 10 days after the papal visit.

Hundreds of fences and wooden poles still surround the location where Pope Francis addressed thousands of pilgrims on August 26.

As a result, much of the vicinity around the Papal Cross remains inaccessible to the public.

The Office of Public Works (OPW), which manages the park, is now being accused of failing to prioritise the clean-up - something it strongly denies.

Closures

"As a regular user of the Phoenix Park, it's disappointing that the clean-up is yet to be completed more than a week after the Pope concluded his visit," said city councillor Cieran Perry.

Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

"There was a huge impact on the local community during the visit due to road closures and disruption, so I was hoping that in the aftermath of the visit clearing up and normalising the situation would be prioritised, but unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case."

Green Party councillor Roderic O'Gorman said that a lot of people continue to be discommoded by the papal visit.

Phoenix Park.
Phoenix Park.

"It's really disappointing to see that such a large part of the Phoenix Park is still closed off to the public," he said.

"It's sad to see that lots of people, including tourists, are still being inconvenienced by the visit.

Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.
Site of the Papal Mass in Dublin's Phoenix Park.

"The Green Party is now putting a question to minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran about the overall purpose of the visit and how neighbouring communities were affected."

Sinn Fein representative Seamas McGrattan believes no-one is taking full responsibility for the clean-up.

"In recent days, we all saw the thorough clean-up of the Electric Picnic site. Why couldn't there be a similar rush to clear up the Phoenix Park?" he said.

"It seems like no-one is taking control of it. You would think that the job would be done by now."

In response, the OPW told the Herald it is "very pleased" with the clean-up to date and it is progressing on schedule.

"We expect all remaining material to be removed from the site by close of business on Monday, September 10," a spokesperson said.

"It should be noted that the Phoenix Park reopened 15 hours earlier than anticipated on August 27 to all traffic."

Irish Independent

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