Friday, December 31, 2010

Government wrote off papal visit costs

THE State wrote off the costs it incurred for the papal visit to Ireland after then Taoiseach Charles Haughey instructed government departments not to try and recoup money from the church authorities.

It followed a visit to the Taoiseach by two senior Catholic Church prelates, Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich and Dublin Archbishop Dermot Ryan, who asked that the State should not insist on recouping much of the costs associated with the Pontiff's visit.

Pope John Paul's historic trip in late 1979 cost five government departments £2m to £2.5m -- up to €10.9m in today's values.

Another estimated £467,000 (more than €2m) was incurred mainly by CIE, Aer Lingus, Aer Rianta (the former airport authority) and Bord Failte and by the Air Navigation Office.