Contingency plans used during Storm Ophelia will be used to cater for the homeless during the pope's visit, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

Extra staff will be on duty to help with people looking for shelter while members of the public can alert Housing First teams to people sleeping rough.

It comes as a group that helps the homeless in Dublin city says many homeless people are extremely concerned about the restrictions being imposed for the pope's visit this weekend.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Miriam, Glenda Harrington of the voluntary group Friends Helping Friends said gardaí had told her she will not be allowed to distribute food to the homeless this weekend.

Ms Harrington said her group would normally distribute hot food to 300 people on Westmoreland Street on a Saturday evening.

She said gardaí advised her that it would be a security risk and as a result she would not be allowed to set up.

Ms Harrington said some homeless people have told her they have been removed from the Phoenix Park ahead of the pope's visit.


Read more: The Pope in Ireland


Extra temporary accommodation, including apartments, have been reserved for families presenting as homeless this weekend and, according to a statement from the executive, it has established that existing bookings with hotels and B&Bs will not be affected.

It adds that while it will try to accommodate families in the Dublin Region "as part of our additional contingency measures, a certain number of spaces are located outside of the Dublin Region, these will be utilised only when absolutely necessary".

Merchants Quay Ireland, which is not usually open on a Saturday, will provide meals for those homeless people unable to get to the Capuchin Day Centre on Church Street because of the pope's visit there.

Meanwhile, hotels and Airbnb operators in the capital say they have not noticed an exceptional increase in demand because of the visit by Pope Francis.

Many people are expected to travel to and from Dublin on the day for the events.

There are 15,000 overseas delegates who have already been fixed up with a range of accommodation, according to a spokesperson for the World Meeting of Families. This includes Airbnb and some college campuses.

Separately, up to 1,500 people from areas of economic disadvantage will be accommodated with host families, the spokesperson added.

An Post has delivered booklets to 144,000 homes and businesses around the Phoenix Park to advise of road closures and suspension of parking.


Read: How to get from A to B while Pope Francis is in town


Road closures on Saturday affect mainly the north and south city centre from 12pm with most reopening at 5pm.

On Sunday, there will be far more extensive road closures involving the quays and city centre west of O'Connell Bridge from 8am to 11pm.

These closures will extend around the Phoenix Park to the M50, including areas such as Ballyfermot, Chapelizod, Cabra, the Navan Road, Castleknock and Clonsilla.