Gardaí set for duty in France at Euro 2016

Gardaí are to be sent to France this summer to help manage Irish soccer fans attending Euro 2016.

With tens of thousands of Ireland fans due to follow the boys in green over to France next month, eight uniformed officers will travel to Lille and Bordeaux where Ireland will play two group games against Italy and Belgium.

Gardaí will assist French officers in helping to manage Irish fans. They will also support special consulate services which will be set up in both cities to help any citizens who may get into difficulty while attending the football tournament.

Although the gardaí will work closely with their French counterparts, a government spokesman confirmed they will not have powers to arrest.

Members of An Garda Síochána were also sent to Poland to carry out similar operations when Ireland qualified for Euro 2012.

The gardaí, who will at all times be accompanied by French officers, will follow the Irish team who are due to travel to France on June 8.

The team is due to play two friendly warm-up matches before heading to France. The first will take place in Dublin this Friday while the second will kick off in Cork on Tuesday next.

Separately, the number of troops deployed to Lebanon is set to jump as Ireland takes over control of joint operations in the country. There are currently 199 troops serving as part of the 53rd Infantry in Lebanon.

However, in November, Ireland is due to take the lead in the joint mission with Finland and will increase the numbers of troops to 358. They will join peacekeeping members already in the Middle East as part of Unifil — the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

The Finnish-Irish battalion monitors the cessation of fighting, supports the Lebanese armed forces, and also ensures civilians have humanitarian access. The 51st Infantry Group last week returned from Lebanon after a six-month deployment.

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