With the count-down to Euro 2012 now in full swing, Irish fans have been issued with a survival guide to help them make it through the football extravaganza.
In what is sure to be a boozy group stage, the expected 20,000 travelling fans have been warned that Poland takes a far less relaxed approach to alcohol than some Irish fans might assume.
Speaking at the launch of the Euro 2012 Survival Guide, chief executive of drinkaware.ie Fionnuala Sheehan said Poland was likely to have stronger alcohol and a strict attitude to public drunkenness.
“Irish fans, in general, always behave themselves well when they are abroad.
“However, they need to be aware that the percentage of alcohol in beer, and even in some spirits, is higher than here at home. The measures can also be larger.
“There is also strict, zero-tolerance to drink-driving and very little public tolerance of public drunkenness.
“So while people will certainly enjoy themselves, they just need to be aware of these things.”
Ms Sheehan said fans also need to realise that often the smallest things can spell disaster when you are enjoying the sporting trip of a lifetime.
“For example, if we are lucky enough to make it to the knockout stages and you wish to travel on to Ukraine, you need to have an additional six months on your passport as it does not accept passports that expire within this period.
“It’s little things like that that could be disastrous if you were all paid up to travel on to Ukraine.”
The guide, which will be available in Irish airports and on board Irish ferries, as well at travel agents in the run-up to June, is packed full of useful tips on travelling safely to and inside Poland, including advice on the European Health Insurance Card, local currency, what to do in an emergency, and contacts for the local Irish embassy should you find yourself in need of assistance.
The guide also has practical advice on public transport options in Poland, the toll system for those driving to the games, responsible drinking advice from drinkaware.ie, and tips on staying sun-safe from DocMorris Pharmacy.
Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said consular assistance with be available in both Poznan and Gdansk for the duration of the group stages of the tournament, but warned fans that they wouldn’t be forking out for people who couldn’t afford to pay their hotel bill.
“They can’t pay your way home. They can’t pay your hotel bill but if something does go seriously wrong, the Irish Government, through our department and consular service, will be available to help,” he said.
Similar consular arrangements will be in place in Ukraine should Ireland pass the group stage.
FAI chief executive John Delaney encouraged Irish fans both at home and making the trip to Eastern Europe to get behind the team.
“We expect at least 20,000 to travel. Get the bunting up. Gather in your houses or pubs or wherever it is, responsibly doing so, and celebrate being Irish.”
Ireland’s Euro 2012 campaign kicks off against Croatia on June 10. They play Spain in Gdansk on June 14 before returning to Poznan to play Italy on June 18.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved