Councillors in Belfast have voted to invite both the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland football teams to a joint reception.
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.
PUP Cllr Billy Hutchinson says he did not call a protest, says he said he fears the presence of one ROI player cld spark protests— Rebecca Black (@RBlackPA) January 5, 2016
There was a minor protest outside Belfast City Hall before the Assembly meeting but the motion was passed.
Around five protesters have turned up at Belfast City Hall this evening— Rebecca Black (@RBlackPA) January 5, 2016
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.
NI/ROI football reception "debate" embarrassing. It's 2016 ffs. Given divided nature of this place should be a given both teams invited! 💤💤💤— Amanda Ferguson (@AmandaFBelfast) January 5, 2016
— Owain Gardner 🇪🇺🇬🇧 (@Odbe34) January 5, 2016
Not sure how I feel about the joint civic reception for NI & ROI, sad that tribal politics has got involved in sport on such an achievement— Alan Anderson (@PrintIsntDead) January 6, 2016