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Pope Francis may not meet abuse survivors in Ireland, says archbishop

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin speaks during a launch for the World Meeting of Families (Photo: CNS)

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said it is still uncertain whether or not Pope Francis will meet abuse survivors during his two-day visit to Ireland later this month.

Archbishop Martin said: “He will obviously speak about various forms of abuse not just clerical abuse, the abuse in the institutions, the laundries and the mother and baby homes. It would be great to meet some of the victims or survivors from that group, but the time is very tight.”

According to Irish media, the archbishop said the Vatican had not yet confirmed whether a meeting could take place.

Pope Francis will be in Ireland for 36 hours on the weekend of August 25-26. It will be the first time a pope has visited Ireland since 1979.

Among his stops will be Knock shrine and a Capuchin day centre for the homeless. On the Sunday he will celebrate the closing Mass of the World Meeting of Families in Phoenix Park, Dublin, with half a million people expected to attend.

Marie Collins, an abuse survivor and former member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said on Twitter that if the Pope did not meet survivors it was “unlikely due to lack of time”.

“More like an effort to avoid the issue of abuse as the crisis grows worldwide,” she wrote. “No amount of ignoring will make it go away!”

David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute, which promotes marriage and religion, said it would be “very wrong” if the Pope did not meet survivors.