herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Ticketless English fans are main security concern ahead of big clash

England fans 1995
England fans 1995

The biggest security concern for gardai ahead of this weekend's Ireland v England clash at the Aviva Stadium is ticketless English louts arriving at the Dublin 4 stadium.

A massive security plan is in place ahead of Sunday's international soccer friendly.

Around 1,875 English fans are banned from attending, and there has been close co-ordination between senior gardai and English police.

Some 3,000 English fans do have tickets for the highly-anticipated match.

"Ticketless English fans are a cause of concern if they arrive at the stadium en masse, but this eventuality is being prepared for and gardai will be able to deal with it if it happens," a source said last night.

The revelation comes as it has emerged that gardai have advised all pubs and off-licences in the vicinity of the stadium not to open their doors until 4pm, over an hour after the game will have ended.

However, it is understood that not every pub in the locality will wait for three-and-a-half hours after their regular 12.30pm Sunday opening times.

"What is of a major benefit to the policing plan is that pubs will not be open before the kick-off at 1pm. This will be a big help," the source pointed out.

Undercover

"The hope is that the event will pass off without major incident and a repeat of the scenes when the two countries last played in 1995 at Lansdowne Road is considered extremely unlikely," the source added.

Undercover gardai and English police will mingle with away fans while public order units will be on standby in case any trouble kicks off.

It is expected more than 300 gardai will be on duty with other officers based in "potential hotspots" in the city centre.

English authorities are also confident that the event will pass off without major incident.

Fans subject to banning orders must surrender their passports and, for the first time in four years, will also be required to attend nominated police stations in England and confirm attendance with a signature.

However, gardai are prepared if any hooligans "slip through the net" and there has been an increase in surveillance at airports and ports.

Speaking last week about English fans, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said there had been an increase in serious anti-social behaviour in the team's last four away games.

"Regrettably that means we have to increase our enforcement activity using tactics that proved successful in addressing these problems in the past.

"We are working closely with An Garda Siochana to support their operation," Mr Roberts said.

 

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