Latest: Irish families present Pope Francis with 'Icon of the Holy Family'

Latest: Two Irish families have presented the ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ to Pope Francis.

Latest: Irish families present Pope Francis with 'Icon of the Holy Family'

Update 4.52pm: Two Irish families have presented the ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ to Pope Francis.

Brenda Drumm was at the Vatican with her husband and kids along with her mother-in-law, Maureen and told The Ray D'Arcy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 that after his general audience in St Peter's Square where the Pope announced he would visit Ireland they were brought up to meet him one by one.

Brenda said: "He took his time. (He is) very ordinary, he had a lovely greeting for all of us.

"He spent time with us and he loves being in the company of children and young people so he spent a lot of time chatting to the kids."

Maureen told D'Arcy that there was kind of an aura about the Pope.

"He had such a lovely smile and soft brown eyes. There's kind of an aura about him. It was just a lovely feeling.

I never in a million years thought I'd shake hands with the Pope.

The family presented the Pope with ‘Icon of the Holy Family' which was blessed in Knock by Diarmuid Martin last August.

The Pope blessed the ‘Icon of the Holy Family' which will return its tour of the diocese of Ireland when it goes back to the country.

You can listen to the full interview below.

Update 3.53pm: It is understood the powersharing crisis has caused problems for a potential visit by Pope Francis to Northern Ireland.

This morning the first Papal visit to Ireland in nearly 40 years was confirmed for August.

Simon Coveney was asked in Belfast about a possible trip North.

"That's a matter for the Pope and the team of people that are putting his visit together," said the Tánaiste.

"We strongly welcome the fact that the Pope is choosing to come to Ireland. I look forward to that but his schedule is a matter for his team."

Update 11.30am: Pope Francis will face protests about child abuse when he visits Ireland, a campaigner said.

The pontiff will attend part of the 9th World Meeting of Families which will take place from August 21 - 26 in Dublin.

Margaret McGuckin is leading calls for a special payment to child victims of institutional abuse in Catholic residential homes in Northern Ireland.

She said: "I am sure there will be many of our survivor groups down south who will be protesting.

"I am sure people could get quite angry and irate that the Pope is still coming.

"He still has not stepped in to do anything, I don't think it is a good time for him to come here."

A series of reports have highlighted physical and sexual abuse by Catholic clerics in the Republic of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland a public inquiry has recommended special payments to survivors but that has not been implemented because of the collapse of devolved Government at Stormont.

Ms McGuckin said: "We all thought with a new Pope in place he would be a change."

The Pope has expressed "pain and shame" over the clerical sex abuse of children.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has welcomed the announcement of the Pope's upcoming visit, saying: "On behalf of the Government I welcome the announcement by Pope Francis of his intention to come to Ireland in August for the World Meeting of Families. I look forward to meeting him during his visit."

Margaret McGuckin
Margaret McGuckin

Earlier: Pope Francis confirms that he will visit Ireland this August

The Pope has confirmed that he is to attend the World Meeting of Families which takes place in Croke Park in Dublin from August 21-26.

Pope Francis will also celebrate Mass in the Phoenix Park at the end of the week long event.

Full details of the papal schedule will be released at a later date.

The Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference has warmly welcomed the announcement saying: "We are deeply honoured that Pope Francis will come to our country to participate in this universal Church celebration of faith and joy, as well as of the contemporary challenges which face families.

With great anticipation we also look forward to hearing the apostolic guidance of His Holiness during his stay with us

"Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin, as President of the World Meeting of Families 2018, has been charged with undertaking the significant task of organising this global celebration and each of the other 25 dioceses on the island of Ireland is supporting the host diocese to ensure its success for the whole country and for the world.

"We eagerly await the visit of Pope Francis which no doubt will be an occasion of spiritual renewal for our laity, religious and clergy as well as a strengthening of Christian family life."

Also today in Rome two Irish families presented the official World Meeting of Families 2018 ‘Icon of the Holy Family’ to Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in Saint Peter’s Square.

The Tobin family are from Co Kildare and the Bushell family are resident in Rome. The delegation was led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, President, and Father Timothy Bartlett, Secretary General, of the World Meeting of Families 2018.

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