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Saturday 3 December 2016

Smithfield to host family-friendly fanzone for France clash

Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Caroline Quinn
Frances Fitzgerald Picture: Caroline Quinn

A fanzone is to be set up in the city centre on Sunday for supporters of the Ireland team who can't make the journey to France.

Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald's office has confirmed that large screens will be placed in Smithfield Plaza.

The fanzone will see thousands of supporters of the Boys in Green take to the streets of the capital for one of the biggest football matches in the country's history.

The idea was raised in the Dail by Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin as politicians praised Martin O'Neill's charges after their historic Euro 2016 win over Italy.

He gave the example of the event held in Dublin Castle last summer for the results of the marriage-equality referendum in arguing for the opening of a fanzone.

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Ms Fitzgerald contacted local planning minister Simon Coveney, who in turn got in touch with Dublin City Council.

A spokeswoman for the local authority last night said that the fanzone will go ahead.

"The event is a family friendly one and the area will be a strictly alcohol-free zone," she added.

Several politicians congratulated the Irish team on their victory in Lille.

"I think the match and that goal will rank right up there with the best of our memories of Irish soccer," Ms Fitzgerald said.

"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," she added.

Sinn Fein deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald praised the Ireland and Northern Ireland teams. "Imagine what we could achieve when we have a single Irish soccer team," she said.

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