Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Irish government feared IRA would meet Pope

The Irish government was concerned republicans would meet the Pope during the papal visit sparking possible sectarian tension, official documents show.

A note among files released to the Republic's National Archives revealed the government believed the IRA might try to attend a function with the Pope other than the high-profile public events.

"(Such a meeting would) lead to a reaction of extreme anger among the Protestant community in Northern Ireland, with the consequent grave danger of sectarian murders, bombings, and other outrages, north and south of the Border in Ireland," the memo read.

The document said the Irish government believed the IRA would use the visit and press coverage to obtain publicity for their violent campaign.

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