Pope Francis will not be visiting Northern Ireland this summer
Pope Francis will not visit Northern Ireland during a summer visit to the island of Ireland, it has been confirmed.
A Vatican spokesman confirmed to ITV that the pontiff would not be travelling north of the border during his visit.
The Pope is scheduled to visit Dublin on August 25 and 26 to coincide with the city's hosting of the World Meeting of Families, an international Catholic event staged every three years.
Pope John Paul II completed the last papal visit to the Republic of Ireland in 1979.
There had been speculation that the Pope (81) would also visit Northern Ireland.
In December last year Church of Ireland Primate Richard Clarke said a joint visit to Northern Ireland by the Pope and the Queen would be "remarkable and wonderful".
In an interview with the Irish Catholic newspaper in October last year the DUP's Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said "I don’t think there will be a negative reaction from the Protestant community" when asked about a potential visit.
Belfast Telegraph Digital