Good Garda planning can make Dublin a European football capital - MEP Andrews

Published on: 20 May 2024

Barry Andrews MEP has commended An Garda Síochána for their robust policing plan ahead of the Europa League Final in Dublin this week.

"Given the rise of football hooliganism on the continent, there are fears that violence may erupt on the streets of Dublin in the days leading up to the Europa League Final this month,” the Dublin MEP said.

"Recent clashes of Atalanta and Rangers fans in the streets of Lisbon show there is a serious threat of similar scenes unfolding in our capital. Many Irish fans are aware of the seriousness of football hooliganism following the attack on Sean Cox in Liverpool in 2018 by Roma fans.

"However, the Gardaí have done a very thorough job in preparing for this event. They have identified this as an ‘extraordinary event’ and are preparing accordingly. They have put new members of the Garda National Public Order Unit through extensive training. In addition, gardaí have been equipped with new, smaller, round public order shields and pepper spray.

“This must be commended at time when garda resources and garda numbers in Dublin are not where they need to be.  Dublin has a real opportunity to become a European football capital and host large events like this.  But this will mean radically increasing our garda numbers in the city on a daily, not just extraordinary, basis.  Pulling gardaí from other regions and policing the city on overtime is simply not sustainable.

"Poor policing around European football games in recent years has tarnished the reputation of certain cities' ability to host major sporting events. Just look at how Liverpool fans were brutally treated in Paris and the chaos that engulfed Seville in 2022.

"With the preparations that the Gardaí are making ahead of this major fixture, and with decisive moves to fast-track garda recruitment and radically increase garda numbers in our capital, I believe Dublin can establish itself as a European capital capable of hosting major sporting events in the future.

“The economic benefits for Dublin will be immense. Let's give ourselves the opportunity for future events like this .Now is the time to capitalise on this and showcase Dublin at its best to the rest of Europe."