The families of six men shot dead in a sectarian massacre have praised football chiefs after they agreed to let the Republic of Ireland mark the atrocity at Euro 2012.
The team will wear black armbands while playing Italy on June 18 — exactly 18 years since the Loughin-island massacre during the World Cup in the US in 1994.
The FAI confirmed that European football chiefs gave the go-ahead for the remembrance as the team take on Italy, a repeat of the match the victims were watching.
Niall Murphy, solicitor for the families, said the relatives were moved by the honour. “The families are touched that this tragic event can be commemorated on such a poignant day, the 18th anniversary of the atrocity,” he said.
“We would like to thank the FAI and Uefa for their assistance in providing a forum to recall the awful event that took place on that fateful day, when Ireland played Italy.”
Six Catholic men were shot dead when Ulster Volunteer Force killers opened fire indiscriminately inside the Heights bar in Loughinisland, Co Down.
The Republic defeated Italy 1-0 that night in the Giants Stadium in New York.
Among those who died in the attack was Barney Green, 87, the oldest victim of the Troubles.
Five other men were seriously wounded.
Nobody has been convicted of the murders, although 16 people were arrested over the years.
Uefa granted permission for the commemoration after the FAI approached it on behalf of the families of the bereaved.
FAI chief executive John Delaney said: “What happened in Loughinisland in 1994 was an awful tragedy and deeply moving for all football fans.
“I would like to thank Uefa for assisting us in commemorating this atrocity and take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in the Troubles.”
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