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World Youth Day : Was It All Worth It ?

Sun 21st Aug 2011

Pope Benedict XVI gave mass at Madrid's Cuatro Vientos airfield this afternoon to mark the end of the World Youth Day Event.

Hosting the gathering, which was attended by 40'000 visitors from all over the world, as well as many more Spanish Catholics, has been estimated to have cost the country between 60 and 100 Million Euros.

Although the Government has countered criticism by claiming that 100% of the cost has been met by ticket sales and private corporate sponsorship, they have offered businesses making such donations an 80% tax break, naming the gathering 'an event of exceptional public interest'.

As such, surely the taxes that contributing businesses would otherwise have paid, would have gone towards public spending - much needed in these times of spending cuts and austerity measures.

Furthermore, the locals have been angered over the Madrid Metro, causing workers to take industrial action during the event. Earlier this year a round of redundancies were made with various Metro workers, and a number of services were either reduced or cut altogether in a bid to curb public spending.

However, it seems that for the duration of World Youth Day, not only have extra services been introduced, and that information services and ticket outlets have been implemented in many different languages, but that event attendees have been able to enjoy subsidised ticket prices of as much as 80%. To add insult to injury, not only are the local tax-paying Madrilenos are likely to have to meet the cost of this, but they have been told that their ticket prices will be subject to a price hike later in the year.

The usual Gay and lesbian rights Supporters and Pro-Abortion groups have also been vocal on the streets of the capital, but so too have many other protest groups such at the 'Indignados', or M15 collective - the latter demonstrating against the vast expense of the visit, which contrasts starkly to the economic troubles of the country.

As the Pope returns to the Vatican City, and plans begin for the next world youth day - to be held in Brazil in 2014 - the question needs to be asked : 'Was it worth it ?'

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