Numbers behind the Pope’s Ireland visit revealed

The Pope’s visit to Ireland next week is set to be the biggest event in Europe this year and visitors are advised to treat the event as they would a pilgrimage.

Official statistics list the enormous staffing and production requirements needed for the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) and the papal visit to Dublin and Knock over Saturday and Sunday August 25 and 26.

The main event, the Papal Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, is expected to draw 500,000 visitors, the equivalent of six All-Ireland Football finals.

There are also an additional 3,000 volunteers in the Papal Mass choir and another 2,000 involved in the distribution of Holy Communion.

A further 250,000 people will be attending events at the RDS, Croke Park and Knock.

If half of the people attending have a cup of tea or coffee, 31,250 litres of milk will be used, and 25,000 sliced pans are expected to be used for sandwiches.

Some 150 food and drink outlets in 10 service areas around the outside of Phoenix Park will be serving convenience food.

On food and drink outlets alone, there will be around 800 staff who will be onsite from 6am, closing ahead of the Mass.

Some 72,000 bottles of water will be used for crew alone, not including water for attendees.

More than 1,200 journalists have been accredited for the visit from 31 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Mexico, Peru, Russia and the United States.

There will be five media centres at Dublin Castle, Phoenix Park, Knock Airport, Knock Shrine and Croke Park, with 40 separate media structures in 10 locations built for the event to be covered internationally.

The two main media centres in Dublin Castle and Phoenix Park will run 24/7 from Friday morning until Monday evening to accommodate the international journalists’ deadlines.

More than 20 satellite and broadcast trucks are being used, plus nearly 40 stand-up positions for media to report from and seven studios for reporting from the Mass.

There will be 1,600 stewards in total, 1,000 positioned inside Phoenix Park itself and 600 lining the routes into the location.

Some 7,000 WMOF 2018-trained and Garda-vetted volunteers are also helping people get to and from the Mass.

More than 1,000 medical providers from around the country will be on duty, with a skill set ranging from community first responders to doctors.

More than 26 aid posts will be in place along the numerous pedestrian routes and within Phoenix Park.

Assistant Garda Commissioner for Dublin Pat Leahy said visitors should prepare for a long day.

“Treat it as if you were going up the side of Croagh Patrick.

“Prepare for a long day because it is a pilgrimage that people are going on.

“They’re going to Mass with 500,000 people with them and the Pope is saying Mass.”

The overall cost of the visit will not be known until after the event has taken place.

- Press Association

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