Belfast Telegraph

Garda warns faithful not to use cars as tickets for Pope's Mass put on hold

Organisers of the papal visit to the Republic have delayed issuing tickets over concerns about the number of people travelling by car.

Tens of thousands of people are still planning on driving to the once-in-a-generation event despite the repeated warnings about lack of capacity for traffic and parking.

Free public transport will be offered to all attendees at the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families on August 26 in Phoenix Park.

Organisers have appealed for people to use public transport where possible.

Pope Francis is expected to address a crowd of around 500,000 in the park.

The size of the crowd and the security arrangements necessary pose a significant logistical challenge.

Tickets were due to be issued on July 31 but this has now been pushed back to August 10, organisers said in an email to attendees.

“We had planned to email all tickets by July 31, but we were unable to do so due to the large number of people who have indicated to us that they intend to travel to the event by car,” they warned.

“The available infrastructure in Dublin cannot cater for all those who have indicated that they are coming by car,” the email added.

“We have delayed the issue of tickets to August 10, so as we can finalise the colour coded routes based on the information we have received about where those attending are coming from.”

People planning to travel by bus or train have been urged to book their tickets well in advance as transport firms have indicated that many people have still not booked their seats.

Organisers said the delay in issuing tickets was “to help people plan their journeys in the most effective way and to encourage them to change their plans to travel by car and to instead use public transport”.

Garda previously warned that those who insist on driving to Phoenix Park could find themselves turned back on the M50.

They said that Dublin could grind to a standstill during the papal visit unless tens of thousands of people change their travel plans.

Garda superintendent Tom Murphy said: “I just want to emphasise at every opportunity, do not use the car for the event.”

The movement of cars in some parts of the city close to Phoenix Park will be “completely cut out” on the day.

Supt Murphy confirmed there is “insufficient capacity” for cars, adding: “I don’t want to see people being disappointed by being turned away from the M50 and not being allowed into the event.

“Please use the public transport and private coach facilities that are available.”

A number of “controlled zones” will be enforced from 6am-11pm on Sunday August 26, blocking off normal traffic south of the N2, north of the Grand Canal, west of O’Connell Bridge and east of the M50.

Belfast Telegraph

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