ROI and Northern Ireland football teams invited to joint reception in Belfast

ROI and Northern Ireland football teams invited to joint reception in Belfast

Councillors in Belfast have voted to invite both the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland football teams to a joint reception.

One councillor feared the presence of James McClean could lead to protests
One councillor feared the presence of James McClean could lead to protests

There had been some objections to the proposed reception, with PUP Cllr Billy Hutchinson saying he feared the presence of James McClean could lead to protests.

McClean is a Derry native. He plays for the Republic of Ireland and has been outspoken about his nationalist views in the past.

There was a minor protest outside Belfast City Hall before the Assembly meeting but the motion was passed.

However some representatives suggested the national teams from England and Wales should then also be invited.

The move was defeated, but Independent councillor Ruth Patterson suggested the reception should only be for one team.

“To use this as a political football is wrong,” Patterson said. “We have six counties in Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland football team is the team of Northern Ireland, just as the Republic of Ireland team is the team of the Republic of Ireland.”

There have been mixed reactions to the decision online.

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