Pope Paul proclaimed the first Irish saint for more than 700 years on Sunday (12 October) -- the 17th Century martyr and Primate of All Ireland Oliver Plunkett.
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Background: Pope Paul proclaimed the first Irish saint for more than 700 years on Sunday (12 October) -- the 17th Century martyr and Primate of All Ireland Oliver Plunkett.
Oliver Plunkett was the victim of an anti-Catholic purge in England during the reign of Charles II. He was accused of recruiting an Irish army and plotting a joint invasion with the French. The jury found his 'Guilty' and he was hung, drawn and quartered at Tyburn gallows in London in 1679.
Oliver had to be taken to London for the trial because it was believed that he was so widely respected in Ireland that even an all Protestant jury would have freed him. Oliver got on well with the Protestant community in Ireland and in Sunday's address Pope Paul described him as "a model of reconciliation -- a sure guide of our day".
There was a burst of applause from the 6,000 Irish amongst the 30,000 crowd in St. Peter's suare to hear the canonization ceremony when Pope Paul spoke the first few words in Irish.
Ireland's Prime Minister Liam Co??? was at the ceremony and also Cardinal William Conway, present holder of Olier Plunkett's position of Cardinal of All Ireland.
The Pope was presented with special gifts from Ireland, a basket of apples from Armagh where Oliver was Archbishop -- and a dish of shamrocks.