Criticism over pope in pub ad

A DIGITALLY generated newspaper advert with Pope Benedict and two bishops wining and dining at a Limerick pub is to be checked out by the Advertising Standards Authority.

In the full-page advert carried in yesterday’s edition of the Limerick Leader, the pope, flanked by the bishops, has his arms raised as though giving a blessing to other patrons.

A bottle of wine and glasses are placed on their table at the Cuckoo Box bar at Denmark Street. It carries the caption: “Look who we had for lunch yesterday.”

A complaint is today being lodged with the authority. The founder of the Christian Solidarity Party, Nora Bennis, said she intends to refer the advert to them. “I know from experience by commenting one gives the advertiser more publicity, but I feel this kind of advertising using a figure like the pope to promote a pub and alcohol is unacceptable,” said Ms Bennis.

Limerick curate Fr Eugene Boyce said the use of the pope and the bishops “was stretching it a bit”. He said: “Obviously it is a stunt and this kind of ad is stretching it to get publicity. It is not in the best of taste and that is technology today and what can be done. It is not for me to dictate to the Limerick Leader, it is up to them to decide what they print.”

Fr Noel Kirwan, who heads the Limerick Diocesan Pastoral Centre, also in Denmark Street, said he did not want to comment on the advert. “To be quite honest, making comment gives it more publicity than it’s worth. We have seen this type of thing before and comment gives it publicity,” he said.

A Limerick Leader spokesman said yesterday: “The client wants this and the client put it in and we printed it and we are not taking ownership of it. It is the first in a series with other well-known figures being featured. It’s like the Ryanair ads and harmless stuff.”

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