Archbishop moves to put company set up to run Pope’s Dublin visit into voluntary liquidation after loss of €4.5m recorded last year

Gordon Deegan

Pope Francis wishing Archbishop Diarmuid Martin farewell at Dublin Airport as he departs after his visit. Photo: Maxwells

The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and others have moved to put into voluntary liquidation the company set up to run the World Meeting of Families (WMF) event last year.

The event included Pope Francis’s visit here and the World Meeting of Families 2018 Ltd recorded a loss of €4.56m last year as fundraising for the various events failed to meet costs.

Archbishop Martin was a member of the board of the company and is one of a number of directors to sign a document lodged with the Companies Office to declare that the company was solvent when being put into liquidation.

The total assets at the time of voluntary wind-up was €71,387 and Jim Hamilton of accountancy company, BDO has been appointed as liquidator.

Pope Francis at the Festival of Families in Croke Park. Photo: Tony Gavin
The voluntary wind-up of the company had been flagged in the company’s annual accounts for 2018 that were lodged with the Companies Office last month.

The directors referred to the voluntary wind-up “in light of the key objectives of the company having been achieved in August 2018” when the WMF event and the Pope’s visit took place.

The directors state that the €4.56m deficit for last year “was in line with cash projections and fully covered by bank borrowings. Fundraising will continue to address this deficit”.

The total spend last year by the company amounted to €18.56m while the total amount raised was €13.99m.

The directors state that the spending remained within the planned budgets throughout the period and that they are satisfied with the work undertaken and completed during the period.

The company, granted charitable status by Revenue, confirm that the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference provided a total of €10.07m in income and €294,062 in services last year.

Pope Francis in Phoenix Park (Brian Lawless/PA)

An additional €1.1m was received in donations from the general public.
The company also generated €107,938 in merchandise income and €338,962 in exhibition income.

A note attached to the accounts states that the ICBC has agreed to meet the company’s liabilities.

The accounts show that event costs, included a concert at Croke Park and a mass by Pope Francis in the Phoenix Park, last year totalled €12.5m.

The events were assisted by 11,000 volunteers and volunteer costs last year totalled €311,635 with a further €819,960 spent on marketing and promotional costs.

An additional €485,804 was spent on liturgy costs and €469,049 on insurance along with €1.4m on staff costs.

The company employed 33 and the highest paid employee earned between €90,000 and €100,000.

The directors state that they are very grateful to the unpaid volunteers who helped with the events and fundraising for the events.


Can anyone please explain to me the logic in this day and age,if spending 19 million euros on the visit of just one man . Such an awful amount Of money could feed a thousand of family in a year . Shame on the CATHOLIC CHURCH