Irish fans honoured by Paris mayor for sportsmanship in Euro 2016
Irish football fans are to be honoured by the mayor of Paris for their “exemplary sportsmanship” during Euro 2016.
Anne Hidalgo announced plans for the Green Army to be given the city’s most prestigious award, known as the Grand Vermeil.
A letter confirming the honour has been sent to President Michael D Higgins’s office with plans set to be finalised for a ceremony.
The mayor said Irish fans had distinguished themselves with the atmosphere they created in their short but impressive time in the Euros.
The honour of the Grand Vermeil de la Ville de Paris was created in 1911 to recognise individuals or groups who have made a “remarkable act on the capital”.
Among the names on the roll call of the honour for the Grand Vermeil are tennis champion Rafa Nadal, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock.
It is not the first honour for Irish fans.
On the back of their ambassadorial performances in Poland four years ago, Uefa president Michel Platini announced a special award to Irish fans to recognise their great behaviour and contribution to the championships.
It was dedicated to the memory of James Nolan, an Irish fan who drowned in the river Brda in the town of Bydgoszcz during the competition in June 2012.
Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, and junior minister Patrick O’Donovan said they were delighted with the recognition from the mayor’s office.
“Irish football supporters enjoy an enviable reputation throughout the football world,” they said.
“They are famously friendly and fun-loving with an infectious passion for football and an ability to create a carnival atmosphere. They have shown themselves to be true ambassadors for Ireland during the Euro 2016 championship and this award is well deserved.”
Dara Murphy, Minister for European Affairs, added his congratulations to the fans.
“The Irish team and supporters who travelled to Euro 2016 really did us proud in France and on the European stage over the last few weeks,” he said.
“The fans showed true sportsmanship and the very best of the Irish spirit while in France, which has been a source of great pride for all of us following the championship at home.”