herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Pope's visit set to land taxpayer with €1.2m security and event control bill

Pope John Paul II greets the crowds in the Phoenix Park in 1979
Pope John Paul II greets the crowds in the Phoenix Park in 1979

The Government will spend €1.2m on CCTV cameras, temporary public-address systems and radio communications for the visit of Pope Francis to Dublin in August.

The Office of Government Procurement is seeking tenders for "a managed solution" for the papal visit, which will include CCTV systems, a secure communications network and event-control services.

The estimated value of the contract for these services is €1.2m, excluding VAT, according to tender documents. Tenders must be submitted by May 3, with the Pope's visit scheduled for August 25 and 26.

Festival

The Pope is travelling to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families.

He will attend the event at Croke Park on August 25 and will celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park the following day.

Little else is known about the agenda for his visit. However, the Government's advertisement for tender may contain a clue about an additional engagement: it lists Dublin Castle as a location where the event services will be required.

"The Commissioners for Public Works in Ireland is seeking to procure the provision of a managed solution for papal visit 2018 at locations including Dublin Castle and Phoenix Park," it states.

The "managed solution" will include "temporary CCTV cameras, temporary secure network, radio communications, temporary public-address systems, temporary event-control elements and temporary power distribution".

The Festival of Families at Croke Park on August 25 is a "concert-type event" celebrating "family life around the world that will feature musical and dance performances as well as five selected families from around the world giving witness to their family's faith".

On August 26, Francis will celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park, the location where Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in front of an estimated crowd of more than one million people during his historic visit in September 1979.

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