Friday 9 December 2016

Beefed-up security, dogs and bag searches greet fans at Aviva Stadium for Ireland game

Published 17/11/2015 | 02:30

There was a significant garda presence at the match in the Aviva last night. Photo: Sportsfile
There was a significant garda presence at the match in the Aviva last night. Photo: Sportsfile

Beefed up security - including bag searches - greeted thousands of fans at the Aviva Stadium for Ireland's crucial second leg game against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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All main entry points to the stadium were manned with security staff who operated on an increased level of awareness.

Gardaí patrolled all the key arteries to the ground and maintained a constant presence at each security checkpoint. Handbags, rucksacks and plastic bags were all methodically checked by stewards.

Barred

Fans were barred from taking horns, flares, flag poles, and large golf umbrellas into the ground as part of the security clampdown.

Security dogs were also used before kick-off to sweep the stadium for any suspect packages or devices. The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said all necessary precautions were put in place to safeguard spectators in the stadium.

Ian Mallon, director of communications at the FAI, said there was already a rigorous and thorough match-day security operation in place at the Aviva for every football game.

However, in the wake of the series of attacks in Paris, particularly near the Stade de France, the level of alertness was raised to an "absolute maximum".

Mr Mallon said security staff were instructed to scrutinise all those arriving, including body and bag searches, where necessary.

Support

All staff were also alerted to the Emergency Evacuation Procedure, which is in place for all games at the stadium.

"I would like to add that the Football Association of Ireland wishes to extend its sympathies and support to the French nation, at this time of great pain," Mr Mallon said. A minute's silence was observed before kick-off in memory of those who died and were injured in the Paris attacks last Friday night.

Players and officials wore black armbands at last night's match as a mark of respect.

Fans, meanwhile, seemed to welcome the increased security.

Brian McCarthy, who had travelled from Tralee, said it gave him "peace of mind".

Irish Independent

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