An Ennis man is one of the journalists travelling with Pope Francis on his three-day visit to Iraq.
Colm Flynn from Drumcliffe is Rome Correspondent for EWTN – the Global Catholic Television Network. Colm has been based in Rome since moving there from New York late last year.
The Pope’s visit to Iraq is his first international trip since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. He has made visiting particularly minority-Christian countries a hallmark of his papacy.
Seen as a risky trip, with Iraq being more known for its history of war and suffering, security has been particularly tight for the visit. Every street in the vicinity of locations visited by the Pope have been locked down with locals telling Colm, they hadn’t seen ‘this much military since the war.’ There was also a significant security cordon around the Baghdad hotel where the press corps has been staying.
Just two days before the Papal visit was due to begin, at least ten rockets targeted a military base in Western Iraq. The attack site was near U.S.-led coalition troops however no casualties were reported.
Another, albeit tenuous Irish connection with the visit, is that Pope Francis flew to Iraq on an Alitalia jet registered in Ireland. The Pope was accompanied on that flight by a number of reporters including EWTN’s Colm Flynn.
Colm also chatted with His Holiness on board the flight and showed him photographs of when he visited Argentina to interview members of the Pope’s family.
Colm tweeted from the flight: “Excited atmosphere on board the papal flight as Pope Francis greets the journalists warmly. He said he was very much looking forward to the trip and thanked everyone for coming along. He then took time to greet each journalist.”
Earlier today, Colm tweeted about how he “slipped outside the church when the Pope was speaking, to meet some of the locals. I thought I was about to get in trouble when an army man approached me but then he offered me tea.”
I slipped outside the church when the Pope was speaking to meet some of the locals. I thought I was about to get in trouble when an army man approached me but then he offered me tea. pic.twitter.com/Qwfuev7hM4
— Colm Flynn (@ColmFlynn1) March 7, 2021
Earlier this year, the Ennis man was featured in an episode of Clare FM’s Altantic Tales weekly documentary series.