A toast to Irish fans' good reputation as French authorities roll back on alcohol ban
IRISH fans toasted their good reputation today as the French authorities allowed alcohol sales in the giant Paris fan-zone.
There had been fears the alcohol ban proposed by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazaneuve would ruin the pre-match build up at the fan-zone on the Champs de Mars at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.
It had also been feared that all Euro 2016 venues around France would be required to suspend alcohol sales for the 48 hours before high-profile games.
Ireland open their Euro 2016 campaign this evening with a clash against Sweden at the 80,000 capacity Stade de France.
Almost 20,000 Irish fans have failed to locate match tickets - and plan to watch the game at the fan-zone.
More than 30,000 fans will be in the St Denis stadium in northern Paris.
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The alcohol ban was proposed as a response to the violence in Marseilles and Lille between English, Russian, German and French fans.
However, the French allowed local authorities to make the decision on bans at specific venues - and the ban was sanctioned for "areas of significant risk."
There has been absolutely no trouble in Paris and Irish fans have cemented their reputation for good humour and impeccable behaviour.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has praised the Paris-based fans for creating the kind of atmosphere that Euro 2016 wants.
Irish fans had feared an alcohol ban would ruin the atmosphere at the fan-zone where Swedish, Irish, Croation, English and French fans have mingled since Friday peacefully and without trouble.
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However, under a strict new security crackdown, fans are being required to check laptops, tablets and heavy cameras at specific holding areas.
Such heavy items are not being allowed into the fan zone - and must be reclaimed when the fan leaves the zone.
A pint at the fan-zone costs €6.50 with refills costing €5.50.
Almost 100,000 French police and army personnel are now on security duty for Euro 2016.