Monday 16 October 2017

Gardai fly out to help officers in Poland

Fiach Kelly in Poznan

A TEAM of top gardai are travelling to Poland this weekend to help local police deal with Irish fans and prevent any possible trouble.

And a senior Polish officer in Poznan warned fans to do what the police say.

The delegation of four gardai is being led by Chief Superintendent Michael O'Sullivan, who heads up the force's Dublin South-Central region and is based in Pearse Street station.

Chief Supt O'Sullivan last night told the Irish Independent their main job would be liaising with Polish police, the FAI and the Irish embassy as well as consulates set up in Poznan and Gdansk for the tournament.

"If we spot something that might develop into something unintended, then we'd intervene and talk to people," he said.

However, he does not expect any trouble and said only four gardai were heading over with an expected Irish fan base of up to 25,000. In contrast, Croatian police are sending 20 officers to deal with a smaller crowd, although they have a hard core of troublesome fans.

Chief Supt O'Sullivan said there was no history of trouble between Irish fans and others in their group -- Croat, Spanish and Italian -- and they expected none to flare up. Gardai do not have a "blacklist" of supporters like other countries, he added.

Meanwhile, the senior officer dealing with the Euros said an extra 1,500 policemen would be drafted in from neighbouring cities for the tournament.

"None of our multitude of sources tell us Irish fans are going to be any particular trouble," Andrezej Borowik said.

"But it's also important for the fans that if one of our police officers tell them something shouldn't be done or is prohibited, they should heed that advice or get in trouble."

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