There was political common ground in congratulating the Irish football team on their qualification for the last-16 of the Euros.
In the Dáil, Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald commended the boys in green on “a momentous win” over Italy, in Lille.
“The match, and that goal, will rank right up there with the best of our memories of Irish soccer,” she said.
“Well done to Martin, Roy, Robbie, and the entire team, and, of course, the fans, whom everyone will agree have done us proud and lifted all our spirits,” the justice minister said in the Dáil yesterday as TDs congratulated Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland team on their historic 1-0 victory over Italy.
Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath also paid tribute to the thousands of fans who have travelled to France to support the team.
“It was a tremendous victory against Italy in Lille. They have done us proud, as have the fans over the past number of weeks. We wish them all the best in the last-16 games, and Northern Ireland as well.”
Sinn Féin deputy leader, Mary Lou McDonald, said she would also like to “acknowledge the boys in green and to congratulate them, and the management, on their historic victory”.
Ms McDonald continued: “Is it not something that two Irish teams have now qualified for the final 16? Let us imagine what we will achieve when we have a single Irish soccer team. I have no doubt that we will run rings around them all and win all around us.”
It was proposed to Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald, by Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, that the Government should seek to set up a fan zone, with a big screen in Dublin City centre, to watch the next match, against France.
Ms Fitzgerald said she would contact the relevant bodies to see what could be done for Sunday.
Catherine Murphy, of the Social Democrats, said she wished the team well on Sunday.
Ms Murphy said she hoped “we will also be able to settle an old score by coming out with a win”.
In the Seanad, there were also expressions of support for the Irish team, yesterday. Senator David Norris said the win has “given the entire nation a lift”. He said to see President Michael D Higgins “bouncing up and down with joy” was a perfect example of the delight of the Irish people.
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