Organisers of this August’s World Meeting of Families (WMOF) are confident that they have robust mechanisms in place to prevent efforts to sabotage attendance at the gathering’s two final papal events.
A Facebook page protesting against Pope Francis’ visit is encouraging people to book but not use large numbers of free tickets to ensure a low turnout when the Pontiff leads the Angelus at Knock Shrine on the morning of Sunday August 26 and later that day for the WMOF2018 closing Mass in Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
However, while ‘Say Nope to the Pope’ group members and others have boasted online of booking large numbers of tickets with the aim of depriving others of the opportunity of attending the papal Mass in particular, The Irish Catholic understands that WMOF organisers believe their mechanisms will be able to cope with false demands.
“This is something that happens with free events,” a source familiar with the event’s security procedures said. Explaining that typically about 10% of tickets for free events are booked with no intention of availing of them, the source said “there are a number of different ways that things can be washed out of the system”.
Although it has been possible to book tickets through worldmeeting2018.ie since the morning of Monday June 25, tickets will not be issued for some weeks, with organisers saying that allocations will be made ahead of July 31, with ticket allocation decisions being final and not subject to appeal.
The coming weeks will allow organisers to vet suspicious ticket applications, it is understood, with one member of staff specially tasked with vetting all purported coach bookings, while various algorithms will be used to help identify other fraudulent bookings.
Tickets for the Pope’s Angelus at Knock ran out just over four hours after they became available, while more than half the tickets for the Phoenix Park Mass had been applied for within 12 hours, but it is understood that vetting of applications should allow for further allocations of tickets ahead of the July 31 deadline.