Irish fans praised ahead of Euro 2016 opener
A top policeman has praised the good behaviour of Irish fans at Euro 2016 but said his force will not be taking their eye off the ball.
Garda Superintendent Gerry Delmar arrived in France on Monday and is leading a team of eight gardai at the football tournament.
The senior officer said the Republic’s supporters have so far been “very well behaved” and are proving to be a hit with fans from across Europe.
Supt Delmar said he has not encountered any problems from the Irish contingent who he says are basking in “just pure enjoyment”.
His remarks come as England fans became embroiled in a third day of violence in Marseille.
There were fist fights and bottles thrown between the supporters and their Russian and French counterparts in the city’s Old Port.
Speaking to the Press Association, Supt Delmar said: ” The Irish fans – they’re very, very popular. We can see it here with them. They’re very popular throughout Europe. Over here they’ve been very, very well received.
“They’re very, very well behaved. They’re mingling with fans from other countries, and they’re getting on fine, so it certainly makes our work very, very easy over here.”
He said he had just been to the fan zone at the Eiffel Tower where the Irish were beginning to arrive.
“They’re soaking up the atmosphere, they’re mingling with other fans, they’re enjoying themselves and they’re not causing any problems whatsoever,” he said.
Supt Delmar said his team works closely with their English colleagues, and he said of them: ” They’re very pro-active on the ground. We met them here at the command centre and we spoke to them and they’re very experienced at dealing with it, and they’re doing everything in their power to make sure that the English will stay safe, and they will enjoy it and they will behave.”
He added: “We’re all working together, we’re all one big team over here and we’re doing our best to make sure that everybody will enjoy it and everybody will stay safe.”
Asked whether he and his colleagues are having a good time, Supt Delmar said: “Well, we’re soaking up the atmosphere as well now you know. It is enjoyable, it’s great to do this work.
“Certainly we want to make a difference. While at the moment we’re enjoying it, we certainly won’t be taking our eye off the ball.”
The Republic take on Sweden on Monday night at the Stade de France in their first match of the tournament.