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People urged to take public transport for Pope’s visit


MAKING HEADLINES  Father Richard Gibbons (centre) with photographer Stefano Dal Pozzolo and journalist Orsola Vetri, both Famiglia Cristiana magazine, at Knock Shrine. Pic: Paul Mealey

Ciara Galvin

PEOPLE travelling to see Pope Francis at Knock Shrine on August 26 are being advised to car pool and taken public transport where possible.
The National Transport Authority (NTA), An Gardaí Síochána and public transport operators outlined the comprehensive transportation plan and road closure system to be put in place for the visit of Pope Francis and people are advised to travel in coaches or to carpool.
The Pontiff will visit Knock on August 26 as part of the World Meeting of Families 2018. Road closures come into effect in the Knock area on Saturday, August 25, from 6pm.
The centre of Knock Village will be closed (except to residents) and the N17 between Charlestown and Claremorris will be closed from 12 midnight on Saturday until at least 3pm on Sunday.

Community liaison team
For those who live and work near Knock, a business and community liaison team is in place to handle queries, working closely with Claremorris Garda Station.
As car spaces are limited, people are urged to travel by private coach or carpool to and from the event and there may be some walking distance from the Shrine.
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.
There is a considerable walk from the car parks due to the size, scale and location of the event and there will be no shuttle bus facility available between car parks and the event site. If travelling by car is necessary, carpooling and car sharing are essential.

Public transport
Iarnród Éireann and Bus Éireann will be providing public transport for this event. A bus shuttle service will operate from Claremorris Train Station to take people to Knock Shrine.  For those who have a ticket for the event, the bus shuttle service will be free. Please note there are no public viewing opportunities at Knock Airport.
It will not be possible for the public to view Pope Francis arriving or departing due to security limitations.
Those flying into and out of Ireland West Airport Knock on Sunday will have some access with strict limitations. Only those named on airline passenger lists and those transporting named passengers will be able to access the airport between 12 midnight on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday. Outbound passengers in particular are advised to allow more travel time than usual as there will be a number of security checks on airport access routes. 
Information will be updated on a regular basis on www.gov.ie/popeinireland, which will direct you to all the relevant information website pages.

Centre of attention
A journalist and photographer from Famiglia Cristiana – an Italian Catholic lifestyle magazine with a readership of almost 250,000 people – are visiting Ireland this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland. They are visiting Knock and Dublin in advance of the visit of Pope Francis, to explore Ireland’s Christian heritage and some of the many things to see and do here.
The itinerary for Famiglia Cristiana includes Knock Shrine, Croagh Patrick, Ballintubber Abbey and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar. They are flying back to Italy from Ireland West Airport Knock.
“Tourism Ireland will take every opportunity to leverage the tourism benefits of the upcoming visit by Pope Francis,” said Niamh Kinsella, Tourism Ireland’s Manager in Italy. “So, we were delighted to invite Famiglia Cristiana magazine to come to Knock and Dublin in advance of his visit. It’s an excellent way to highlight Ireland and our Christian heritage to almost 250,000 Italians, positioning Ireland as a highly desirable destination.”