VIDEO: Ministers call booing of British national anthem 'embarrassing and idiotic'

VIDEO: Ministers call booing of British national anthem 'embarrassing and idiotic'
Simon Coveney and Arlene Foster at last night's game. Pic: Inpho

Tánaiste Simon Coveney and Health Minister Simon Harris have criticised football fans who booed the British national anthem.

'God Save The Queen' was played at the Aviva Stadium last night, before an international friendly game between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The game finished in a 0-0 draw.

However, a number of fans were heard booing during the playing of the British national anthem.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Harris said: "I think it's embarrassing and idiotic - I think it's highly regrettable.

"The Tánaiste was there at the game last night, the DUP leader Arlene Foster was there.

"This is meant to be a country of Cead Míle Fáilte - a hundred thousand welcomes - sport is meant to be a unifying event".

Alluding to the Brexit talks and the draft deal agreed this week, he said: "After what has been... a very intense week in terms of discussions and political dissuasions about north, south, east, west relationships - I think everyone was hoping for 90 minutes of a reprieve from that last night.

"It was a minority, albeit a loud minority.

"But they were quite frankly idiots and it shouldn't have happened".

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill said it didn't reflect the respect shown on the pitch.

Former Shamrock Rovers boss O'Neill said: "I thought it was a disappointing start to the game because both teams played the game in a great spirit.

"There was a great respect between both sets of players, it was very competitive and when tackles went in you could see players were picking each other up.

"We wish the Republic of Ireland well for their final game in Denmark on Monday."

While Mr Coveney, who attended the match, tweeted afterwards: "A small number of idiots booed the National Anthem of Northern Ireland tonight at Aviva.

"Competitive friendly, but Northern Ireland were our guests tonight in Dublin".

DUP leader Arlene Foster added: "Thank you Simon. Otherwise, it was a lovely evening".

- Digital Desk


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