Protesters devise a plan to sabotage Pope’s Ireland visit
Organisers of Pope Francis’s visit to Ireland in August were delighted this week by a huge demand for free tickets for a clutch of events – until it became clear that they were being booked by people who have no intention of attending any of them.
The Pontiff’s Irish tour comprises three events open to the public: the World Meeting of Families 2018 at Croke Park on August 25, a Knock shrine event in Co Mayo on the morning of August 26, and a closing mass at Phoenix Park later that day.
He booked one batch of tickets for the Phoenix Park mass under the name “Jesus Christ,” he said, added that many had booked 60 tickets. He estimated that “easily thousands” of tickets had been booked by members of the page, who would not be attending any events.
When booking went live on Monday, 285,000 of the 500,000 tickets for the papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park had been secured by 5pm. Though tickets are free, people are asked to consider making a donation.
All 45,000 tickets for the pope’s visit to Knock shrine, Co Mayo, have been booked, as well as 70,000 tickets for a series of events for the World Meeting of Families.
Keane, who lives in Cork city, said the “Say Nope to the Pope” page was a “peaceful protest”, which had taken off in the last few days.
It’s a lot bigger than I thought it’d be.
The organisers of the Facebook page have been criticised for taking up tickets that other members of the public who want to attend the events might miss out on.
Shame on you taking an opportunity away from others. You’re a sad bunch. A lot of older people won’t get another chance to see the Pope and your petty actions have denied them that chance. That’s other people’s parents and grandparents. Have a little think about that.
I’ve been called a lot of names, I don’t take any notice of them. Whatever you do in Ireland you get complaints.
Several other members of the “Say Nope to The Pope” group said they plan to trash tickets to the Phoenix Park Mass.
More than 4,000 people have now joined the campaign on Facebook.
Said one user:
As far as peaceful protests go, this is an absolutely fantastic idea. I abhor the idea of that man setting foot in this country, after so much hurt and tragedy … I doubt it will make too much of a difference as the Phoenix Park is such a huge space, but well done and kudos to all.
You could go back over the last 900 years of oppression and tyranny and everything the Catholic Church has done to Ireland. I’m at 36 tickets now myself … It’s going to be a very powerful message to see loads of empty seats at the Mass.
The NSS’s Terry Sanderson chimed in, saying:
Glad to see an anti-Pope campaign in Ireland similar to the NSS’s protests against the visit of the previous ghastly old git to Britain.
Meanwhile someone called Sonya Mulligan has created “Say Nope to the Pope” button badges, which she is selling online for €2.00.
She said yesterday on the Facebook page:
Just had a very polite but unpleasant phone call from a randomer ringing to tell me ‘He’s very disappointed in me’ and that ‘Madam you are creating a climate of intolerance’ by making my ‘Nope to the Pope’ badges. I equally politely informed him that I strongly believed in free speech and that I was entitled to my opinion as was he. Good day sir.
A spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families told The Times that they are aware of the protest and have systems in place to check that all ticket bookings are valid.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn