Revealed: Public transport will be free in Dublin for Pope ticketholders

Pope Francis (PA)
Pope Francis (PA)

PUBLIC transport in Dublin will be free for the 500,000 people going to see Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park.

Organisers have today stressed that the number of people indicating they want to travel by car to the event on August 26 is not workable.

Just 20,000 parking spaces will be available in the city but tens of thousands more have expressed a preference to use their own vehicle.

Gardaí have now warned that there will be an exclusion zone for private cars stretching from O’Connell Bridge in the city centre to the M50. This is to facilitate buses, trams and pedestrians making their way to the Papal Mass.

Similar restrictions will be in place around Knock, Co Mayo where the Pope will take part in the Angelus on the Sunday morning.

Speaking about the situation in Dublin, Garda Superintendent Thomas Murphy: “This is the largest event Ireland has organised in nearly 40 years. It simply will not be possible to accommodate all the people who have indicated they want to travel by car to the Mass.

“Therefore we are urging people to go by train, bus, coach or Luas to this event. While walking is inevitable, you will be minimising your walk to and from the event by taking public transport or private coaches.”

All the main transport companies, including Bus Eireann, Dublin Bus, Luas and Irish Rail, have asked substantial numbers of extra staff to work on the day.

And it has now been agreed that movement within the city boundaries on public transport will be free for those with tickets to the event. The National Transport Authority is in talks with the various companies as to how this will be funded.

Tim Gaston, Director of Public Transport Services, NTA said: “Every bus, train and tram is being used for this event and for the safety of the travelling public if you have a ticket for the Phoenix Park, you will be allowed to travel for free within Dublin on the day of the event.”

People travelling from outside Dublin are being urged to pre-book tickets on rail or bus services.

There will be a secure area around Dublin, starting at the M50 from 6am to 11pm on August 26. Road closures and diversions will be in place.

Rolling restrictions will also be implemented on August 25 when Pope Francis visits a number of locations in Dublin city centre, including Croke Park.

For those who live and work near the Phoenix Park, the Pro Cathedral and the Capuchin Centre,a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries.

Gardaí have set up a dedicated helpline and an office in the Phoenix Park to help answer people’s queries.

Road closures will also be a common feature around Knock from Saturday, August 25.

The centre of the village will be closed from 6pm on the evening before the Pope visits, with the exception of residents.

The N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

Gardaí are appealing to people to get on a Private coach or carpool to and from the event. They have warned that anyone using a private car will face a significant walk.

Coaches have a designated parking area on the N17. This will result in the shortest distance to walk to and from the Knock Shrine via a short walkway. It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing from Knock Airport due to security limitations.

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