BY KIERAN O’MAHONY
A VISIT by Pope Francis to Cork may be on the cards when he visits Ireland next year, after councillors agreed to write to both An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar and Papal Nuncio in Ireland, Archbishop Jude Thaddeus, to call for Cork to be included as a venue on his itinerary during his 2018 visit.
At a meeting of Cork County Council this week, Cllr Frank O’Flynn (FF) raised the motion and said he didn’t want Cork to lose out again after it was omitted in 1979 when Pope John Paul II visited Ireland.
‘That was a major stroke pulled by Bishop Eamon Casey during the last Papal visit in 1979 when he went to Galway, despite Cork being the second largest city,’ said Cllr O’Flynn.
‘We should write to both the Papal Nuncio and the Taoiseach to secure Cork for a visit. Páirc Uí Chaoimh would be an ideal venue as ‘The Boss’ filled the house there four years ago.’
Cllr O’Flynn also suggested that Mallow Racecourse could be another potential venue for a visit by Pope Francis. ‘I don’t want Cork city or County to lose out again like we did in 1979,’ added Cllr O’Flynn.
Cllr Gearóid Murphy (FF) seconded the motion and said that, while there maybe a difference of opinion among people on the Catholic Church now compared to 1979, he added that the message of Pope Francis is a very positive one of ‘peace, love and humility.’
Cllr June Murphy (Ind) said that if Pope Francis did come to Cork, she would like him to go up to Bessborough and get him to apologise for what happened at the Mother and Baby Home there.
Cllr Danny Collins (Ind) said that Mallow would be an ideal venue for the Pope’s visit as it would be a central venue for all the people of the county.
Also supporting the call, Cllr Deirdre O’Brien (FF) said it was a great opportunity for Cork and that ‘we deserve it this time.’
Cllr O’Flynn thanked his fellow councillors for supporting his motion and said it is an opportunity that ‘we should not slip by.’
‘We lost out in in 1979 and we don’t want to lose out again in 2018,’ added Cllr O’Flynn.
The visit by Pope Francis will be the first visit by a Pope to Ireland since Pope John Paul II visited the country in 1979.