Euro 2012: Seanie FitzPatrick joins fans in Poznan from €550-a-night hotel
DISGRACED former Anglo Irish boss Sean FitzPatrick last night checked into a €550-anight Poznan hotel, as he arrived to cheer on Ireland in their opening game of Euro 2012.
But he had to look on as the Republic were beaten 3 - 1 by Croatia. Mr FitzPatrick is staying in the same hotel – the five-star Sheraton – as the Ireland team and President Michael D Higgins.
Mr FitzPatrick arrived yesterday and after quickly changing in his room, emerged from the hotel wearing a green Ireland jersey and a green beret. He asked to be left alone and attempted to cover his face with a rainjacket. He was relaxing in the company of a number of others, including PJ Mara, the former government press secretary and adviser to ex-Taoiseach Charles Haughey.
The Irish Independent was quoted a price of €550 for a guest to book in at the Sheraton last night. It is the plushest hotel in the city. Mr FitzPatrick's accommodation is in stark contrast to hundreds of Ireland fans who were left high and dry after a campsite they had booked into unexpectedly closed for not having a proper licence.
The Poznan Football Fans Camp closed early on Saturday morning, leaving the fans scrambling to find other accommodation. And they don't yet know if they will be refunded the hundreds of euro they paid for the campsite.
Garrett Mullan, from the Irish fans' embassy, said they had been contacted by a number of people affected by the closure. It is understood as many as 400 people were staying in the campsite, but it is not known exactly how many of them are Irish.
Tomas Burke (27) from Kilcock, Co Kildare, said he got a text at 3.30am on Saturday telling him the site had closed.
He and three other friends booked in to the campsite through online agency booking.com for 10 nights at a cost of around €2,000, and they are now unsure if they will get the €500 they each paid back.
"I got a text at 3.30 in the morning, that the place didn't exist, we're sorry about it," Mr Burke said.
"We lost 8,000 zloty between us, which is approximately €500 each. Booking.com said they were trying to refund us.
"There's four of us who were supposed to be staying there. So we raced around Poznan trying to get new accommodation, and we eventually got ourselves sorted.
"There was 400 people there, these guys arrived down and there was armed police there stopping you getting in."
Also left looking for somewhere else to stay were brothers Colin (36) and Alan (42) Foley, and their father Will (66) from Cork. They managed to stay on the site for a few hours before it was shut down by the authorities.
"The so-called campsite was really an industrial zone and the taxi driver dropped us off and asked if we were sure this was it," Colin said yesterday.
"We said 'yeah' but when we went in. It was scandalous. This was Friday night. There were these security guys. There was tents pitched on half the site and the other side was to be bulldozed with sand to allow tents but it didn't materialise. We got the head down, got about an hour's sleep and an outdoor shower.
"We met a couple from Dublin and we were drinking in the square later that evening with them and next thing they said they were closing the campsite.
"So we got in a taxi and flew down and there was a bulldozer coming in. They shut it down, I think they has no licence or something."
Someone working in the campsite then offered them a place in his apartment for 1,200 Polish zloty, or around €300, for two nights.
But they then discovered the apartment was 20km outside of Poznan and, when they looked in, it was covered in clothes. They have now found new accommodation in the city.
"We've to get on to booking.com to see if we can get our money back," said Colin.
The initial campsite was advertised as having an adjoining hotel, complete with spa, disco and bar -- but none of this had been built.
Alan Foley added. "There was no hotel -- one fella had to guard the outdoor shower while his wife washed." Another six fans from Co Donegal had to sleep on a concrete floor in an industrial estate.
In a statement the company, Hotelioni, blamed the closure of the site on a media campaign against it and what it described as "hostile treatment from the authorities".
Hotelioni has advised people who booked with booking.com to contact them with any queries.