Friday 18 August 2017

Enjoy yourselves - but be vigilant, minister tells supporters

Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke
Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Minister of State for Sport Patrick O'Donovan has said he wants Irish fans to enjoy Euro 2016 in France - but to be vigilant amid the increased terror threat.

Mr O'Donovan is to attend Ireland's opening game against Sweden and has said he is "absolutely not" deterred from going by the arrest of a terror suspect in Ukraine. He said other Irish fans shouldn't be discouraged from travelling and he wants "the maximum number of people over there, supporting the Irish team".

"We're encouraging people to enjoy themselves but to be vigilant, to work with the French security forces and co-operate with the authorities."

On last month's arrest, Mr O'Donovan said: "Our embassy in Paris, I know, will be keeping a close eye in relation to this and the other thing to bear in mind is that the French authorities themselves are dealing with the issue, liaising with their counterparts in Ukraine."

He said the French President Francois Hollande pledged last week that every possible security measure was being used to counter any terror threats.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated its minister Charlie Flanagan's advice for fans. He has previously pointed out that the tournament is taking place "against a backdrop of heightened security concerns in France" and he urged Irish fans to "exercise a high degree of caution".

Irish Independent

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