Taoiseach labels 'Say Nope to the Pope' protest "petty and mean-spirited"

People have been booking tickets with no intention of attending

Taoiseach labels 'Say Nope to the Pope' protest "petty and mean-spirited"

Pope Francis tries to adjust his mantle on a windy morning in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, 27-06-2018. Image: AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino

The Taoiseach has labelled people who are booking tickets to see the Pope in Ireland with no intention of attending, “petty and mean-spirited.”

The ‘Say Nope to the Pope’ group is encouraging people to snap up the free tickets as a form of “peaceful protest.”

The group claims members have been able to snap up hundreds of the free tickets in a bid ensure a lower turnout for the visit.

However, in the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach said the campaign is not a legitimate form of protest.

“Some people have been applying for tickets that they don’t intend to use as some sort of protest and I want to say that I firmly believe that such actions – if they are happening – are wrong and petty and mean-spirited,” he said.

“Protest is legitimate; protest is OK but denying other people the opportunity to attend a mass or attend an event is not legitimate protest in my view and is very unfair.

“It really should be condemned.”

All 45,000 tickets for Pope Francis’ to Knock Shrine were snapped in a matter of hours after they went on sale two days ago.

Tickets for his Phoenix Park appearance are still available – with some 500,000 originally on offer.

Both events take place on August 22nd.

Additional reporting from Sean Defoe