French industrial action and tight security could affect Irish fans heading to Euros

French industrial action and tight security could affect Irish fans heading to Euros

70,000 Irish fans are expected to be among seven million football fans heading to France for the start of the Euros this Friday.

Matches will take place in 10 cities, from Lille in the North to Marseille in the south.

The first Irish match will take place on Monday in Paris against Sweden.

However there are fears that Irish fans might be affected by industrial unrest across the country.

France's national rail company has offered trade unions a deal on working hours in a bid to persuade striking drivers to go back to work.

Trains have been cancelled across the country on the seventh day of nationwide walkouts.

The strike is part of months of action against a government effort to loosen labour restrictions and allow longer working hours. The government fears it will disrupt the football championship.

A third of high-speed trains and about half of regional trains were cancelled on Tuesday because of the strike, along with many trains to or from Spain, Italy and Switzerland.

SNCF director Guillaume Pepy said on Europe-1 radio on Tuesday that management went "to the farthest point possible" to meet union demands. Leading union CGT, however, appears sceptical of the deal.

90,000 police officers will be deployed on the streets of France during the tournament.

Security is expected to be tight amid heightened terrorism fears.

Research carried out by Enterprise Rent-A-Car found that more than one in five Irish holidaymakers who plan to drive abroad this summer are heading to France.

Almost a quarter (23%) of Irish people travelling to France this summer are going for the sole reason of supporting Ireland in Euro 2016.

“Our survey shows that Euro 2016 will mark the first time many Irish supporters will be driving abroad, and I would urge anyone heading to France to do their homework and be prepared before hitting the autoroutes,” George O’Connor, managing director, Enterprise Rent-A-Car Ireland.

“This includes filling up the tank at the earliest opportunity – with fuel shortages reported throughout the country, I urge motorists to plan ahead and fuel up before setting off.”

“Anyone renting a car will have peace of mind that the local rental company provides necessary equipment such as a safety triangle and high-vis vest,” Mr O’Connor continued.

“However, if you are taking your own car then you must ensure you are fully equipped to the legal requirement.”

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