Saturday 16 December 2017

Elite armed guards added to security detail for the Irish squad

Riot police outside a train station in Lille, where Ireland will play Italy. Photo: PA
Riot police outside a train station in Lille, where Ireland will play Italy. Photo: PA

Ralph Riegel and Wayne O'Connor

French police have added extra security around the Irish squad after further Isil threats against the Euro 2016 tournament.

The additional security is understood to include patrols by elite undercover French armed protection officers.

That will be in addition to the tight security which has surrounded the Irish team's base at the Trianon Palace in Versailles since they arrived over two weeks ago.

As well as armed uniformed police around the Irish camp 24 hours a day, French police have also provided patrols by mounted officers.

Access to the Irish base is being strictly monitored and restricted.

The Football Association of Ireland would not comment on security matters last night.

Martin O'Neill, Roy Keane and the Irish squad will move to Bordeaux within the next 48 hours as they face Belgium in their critical second group game.

Ireland will then face Italy in Lille for their final group game on Wednesday.

Security, already tight at all Euro 2016 venues, has been further reviewed following the brutal murder of a French police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his wife Jessica by a young man who claimed allegiance to Isil.

The man, Larossi Abballa, was shot dead in the policeman's home at Magnanville some 55km from Paris on Monday night.

In disturbing social media posts, Abballa threatened French security forces and vowed that Euro 2016 would become "a graveyard".

Irish Independent

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