Belfast Telegraph

Pope Francis could still visit Northern Ireland, says Bishop McKeown

By Jonathan Bell

The Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown says he remains hopeful Pope Francis will cross the border during his trip to the Republic later this year saying Catholic congregations in Northern Ireland will make their voices heard in Rome in calling for a reversal of the decision.

The Pontiff is visiting Dublin in August for the World Meeting of Families but a visit across the border has been ruled out.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence, Bishop McKeown said he was hoping the decision would be reconsidered saying there was still five months for officials to change plans and squeeze in a short visit to Northern Ireland.

He said: "I think there would be a real sense we could put on something here even in comparatively short notice.

"I am sure we will make our voices heard through the appropriate channels.

"I think we would make the feelings there are still big congregations here in the north and make those heard in the Vatican.

"We could have a short visit."

The last Pope to visit the Republic of Ireland was Pope John Paul II, who drew crowds of more than 2.5million in 1979. He was supposed to visit Armagh but that was called off over security concerns.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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