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Deputy Ó Riordáin criticises some Irish fans for "disappointing" behaviour

We may be seen as “the best fans in the world”, but the Labour TD said that the behaviour of some fans left much to be desired. He has called on fans to “lead by example”.

The Irish team following their match against Italy
The Irish team following their match against Italy
Image: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

A DÁIL DEPUTY has criticised some Irish fans for their behaviour during the Euro 2012 games – and described some of the TV coverage of the event as “boorish”.

In a post on his official blog, Labour TD Aodhán Ó Riordáin said that “the vast majority of the travelling Irish support in Gdansk and Poznan showed the best of what our country has to offer” but went on to detail how certain fans did not do this.

He described the RTE four-part documentary series Green is the Colour as “excellent”, but said the station’s coverage “descended to serious depths of poor taste with the crass laddish nonsense that was the undertone of every painful minute of Craig Doyle’s Euro 2012 programme”.

Calling the questioning of football ‘WAGs’ “boorish and sexually-loaded”, he said it was hard to reconcile this with “the empowering and inspiring game that I know”.

With regard to the behaviour of Irish fans, Deputy Ó Riordaín, who himself attended two of the Irish games in Poland, said that “the tricolour deserves better than to have the slogan ‘Pints, Tits, Ireland’ scrawled across it”, as occurred in Gdansk.

If that slogan was written across another national flag in the past we might have winced to ourselves and used it as an example as how we Irish are different. But unfortunately some of us now think it is simply good fun to encourage a highly embarrassed Italian girl to ‘get them out for the lads’ in a tram in Poznan.

He also mentioned the behaviour of an Irish fan who was pictured with a topless Croatian fan, saying:

It is also disappointing that the Twitter account of a senior international player described as a ‘legend’ the Irish fan pictured kissing the naked breast of a female Croatian fan during the opening fixture of our Euro 2012 campaign.

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Acknowledging positive campaigns run by the FAI, such as Soccer Sisters and Give Racism the Red Card, Ó Riordáin said that: “Leadership must follow from the highest office holders in the FAI, our international players and our public service broadcaster to truly show what sport and particularly football can achieve.”

Above all, said Ó Riordáin:

We owe it to ourselves to build a game for all, to be enjoyed by all, and to lead by example.

Read: FA fined over fans’ celebrations>

Read: Wow, Poznan is really sorry to see all those Irish fans leave>

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