Thursday 26 April 2018

Fanzone to be set up in Dublin for France Euro clash

Fans watch the European Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Merchantile pub on Dame street. Pictures:Arthur Carron
Fans watch the European Championship match between Ireland and Italy at the Merchantile pub on Dame street. Pictures:Arthur Carron

Kevin Doyle, Cormac McQuinn and Philip Ryan

A Fanzone is to be set up in Dublin city centre on Sunday for supporters of the boys in green who can’t make the journey to France.

Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald’s office has confirmed to that large screens will be erected in Smithfield Square.

The idea was raised in the Dáil this morning by Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin as politicians poured praised on Martin O’Neill’s charges after their historic Euro 2016 win over Italy.

Following the debate Ms Fitzgerald contacted Local Planning Minister Simon Coveney who in turn appealed to Dublin City Council.

This afternoon Dublin City Council said that the fanzone will be alcohol free.

"Dublin City Council can confirm that it will be providing a Fanzone area in Smithfield Plaza from 2pm next Sunday 26th June to facilitate those who want to view the Ireland V France Euro 2016 match on a large screen," a spokeswoman said.

"The event is a family friendly one and the area will be a strictly alcohol free zone. An event plan is currently being formulated and details will be issued to media tomorrow," she added.

The event will see thousands of Irish fans take to the streets of the capital for one of the biggest soccer matches in the country's history.

The news came as politicians took to the floor of the Dáil to send their congratulations to Martin O'Neill's team after their historic win against the Italians in Lille last night.

During the debate, Mr Howlin gave the example of the event held in Dublin Castle last summer for the marriage equality referendum results.

Ms Fitzgerald: "Government can certainly approach the relevant bodies, we handled the public screening of the results of the marriage equality referendum very well in Dublin Castle so I'm sure that can be replicated."

Fianna Fail's finance spokesman Michael McGrath led the congratulations to the Irish team on their "tremendous victory" against Italy in Lille.

"They have done us proud as indeed have the fans over the last number of weeks and wish them all the best in the last 16 game and Northern Ireland as well," Mr McGrath added.

Ms Fitzgerald also wished the team well in the next round after their "momentous win" against the Italians thanks to Robbie Brady's header in the dying minutes of the game.

"I think the match and that goal will rank right up there with the best of our memories of Irish soccer. And well done to Martin, Roy, Robbie and the entire team and of course the fans who I think everyone will agree have done us proud and lifted all our spirits," she said.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald also praised both the Ireland and Northern Ireland teams after their successes in the Euros

"I wish too to acknowledge the boys in green and congratulate them and the management on their historic victory. Also, to recognise the girls and and boys in green on the terraces in our fans. Isn't it something we have two Irish teams qualifying now for the final 16. Let's imagine what we could achieve when we have a single Irish soccer team. I have no doubt we would run rings around them and win all round us," she said.

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