Wednesday 18 September 2019

Revealed: Northern Ireland supporters will also receive a medal from Mayor of Paris

Northern Ireland fans at the The Eiffel Tower before the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland fans at the The Eiffel Tower before the UEFA Euro 2016 Round of 16 match between Wales and Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s fans made a big impression on the French at Euro 2016 — and now Paris is going to say “merci”.

The city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would be giving supporters from both sides of the border an honorary medal for their fantastic behaviour.

Yesterday, Independent.ie's Ger Keville wrote this comment piece stating that Ireland fans should not be the only ones to receive a medal for their behaviour and charm in France - and it seems Paris listened!

“The supporters from Ireland and Northern Ireland distinguished themselves by their exemplary attitude, fair play and good mood,” she added.

A statement from the mayor’s office explained that an official ceremony would be held within a number of days.

As well as having fun, the supporters were hailed as good Samaritans after helping distressed pensioners, paying for accidental damage inflicted on cars and windows, and even tidying up messes they had made.

Fans from the North were also moved by how supporters from the Republic sang “Stand Up for the Ulsterman” in the 24th minute of their match against Sweden after the death of 24-year-old Ballymena man Darren Rodgers.

The Green and White Army and Poland fans, who not so long ago were involved in clashes at a game in Belfast, even joined up to sing Will Grigg’s On Fire.

The Euros marked Northern Ireland’s re-entry to international competitions after 30 years.

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Many people had to cope with cancelled flights, transport strikes and other inconveniences.

Two supporters, Darren and Belfast man Archie Rainey, lost their lives in France, but people from North and South rallied round to do what they could.

Earlier this week, star striker Kyle Lafferty said: “On the pitch, we have done well, but overall the winners are the fans.

“What you have done in France and what you have done back in Belfast has been just incredible. All the players are proud and so delighted.”

Yesterday, the Home Office said there had only been 11 Northern Irish football fans arrested at Euro 2016 — four times fewer than England.

Two were detained for criminal damage, two for public disorder, one for drunkenness, four for assault, one for ticket touting and one for pitch invasion. It is believed around 20,000 fans from here attended the contest.

England topped the arrests list for UK countries, with 45 supporters detained in France.

Belfast Telegraph

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