Wednesday 21 March 2018

Aviva locals fear sectarian violence from football fans

Kevin Keane

RESIDENTS near the Aviva stadium in Dublin have said they fear sectarian behaviour and intimidation by Northern Irish football supporters who are due to visit the city next week.

This is despite a number of measures that have been put in place by the FAI, the gardai and the Aviva stadium to avoid a repeat of scenes in the Carling Nations Cup last February when a small number of Northern Irish football fans chanted sectarian songs and shouted at passersby.

Thousands of football fans are due to travel to Dublin for Northern Ireland's next round of matches in the cup against the Republic of Ireland and Wales on May 24 and 27.

Members of two local residents' associations held a protest at the Bath Avenue entrance to the Aviva stadium ahead of the UEFA Europa League final last night.

They also handed a letter to the stadium director, Martin Murphy, outlining the concerns.

Joe McCann, from the Lansdowne Road Residents' Association, said he believed the behaviour earlier this year was orchestrated.

"There was a lot of intimidation, a lot of urination in people's gardens, it was fairly rough. It wasn't anything like we've experienced before," he added.

Earlier this week, Northern Ireland's Irish Football Association announced that its fans would only be allowed to attend the games if they travelled to and from the Aviva stadium using official buses, on which the consumption of alcohol would be banned.

A spokesperson for the Aviva stadium told the Irish Independent last night that the concerns were being taken into consideration.

Irish Independent

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