Pope could still visit NI, says bishop

Pope Francis will visit the Republic of Ireland this summer.
Pope Francis will visit the Republic of Ireland this summer.

Catholic Bishop Donal McKeown says he hopes the Vatican will reconsider facilitating a visit to Northern Ireland by the Pope this summer.

Pope Francis will visit Dublin for the World Meeting of Families in August however there was widespread disappointment among Northern Ireland catholics that a visit to Northern Ireland was not on his agenda when it was released last week.

It will be the first papal visit to the Republic of Ireland for almost 40 years, with Pope John Paul II drawing crowds of over 2.5m when he visited the south in 1979.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday Sequence, Bishop McKeown said there are still five months for the Vatican to change the plans.

There are a number of large catholic congregations in Northern Ireland, he said, and he hoped that their voices would be heard by the Vatican.