Northern Ireland

Pope NI visit still possible, says bishop

Pope Francis Image copyright EPA
Image caption Pope Francis will visit Dublin for the World Meeting of Families in August

The Catholic Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown, says he hopes the Vatican will reconsider including Northern Ireland in the Pope's visit later this year.

Pope Francis will visit Dublin for the World Meeting of Families in August.

It will be the first papal visit to the country for almost 40 years.

The last pontiff to visit the Republic of Ireland was Pope John Paul II. He drew crowds of more than 2.5m - more than half the state's population - in 1979.

Earlier in the week, the director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed to BBC News NI the Pope's schedule would not include a visit to Northern Ireland.

But, speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence, Bishop McKeown said there is still five months for the Vatican to change the plans.