Martin O’Neill: We’ll comply with security restrictions

Although Uefa continue to insist that the Euro 2016 finals will be played out in public, Martin O’Neill says that he and the Irish squad will be ready to comply with any security restrictions at the tournament in light of the terror attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Martin O’Neill: We’ll comply with security restrictions

“There’s talk about matches being played behind closed doors but the safety of people is of paramount importance and anything that is agreed upon, we will fall in line,” the manager said yesterday.

“If that is an alternative and it’s the only alternative then, if we are going to have the competition, we may have to comply with it.

“It’s not ideal and, of course, people will have at this stage paid a lot of money to get tickets sorted out and, if it comes to that, then obviously it’s going to be very difficult to deal with. But if that’s the only solution, then we may have to go with it.”

O’Neill said that, in terms of their own security precautions, the Irish squad and staff in France will be in the best possible hands, although he conceded there may now have to be more restrictions at Ireland’s Versailles base than originally envisaged.

“If someone wants to make an attack, as happened [in the Belgian capital on Tuesday], it’s very, very difficult to deal with that but, overall, the security that we’re being provided with is really excellent and, like everything else, I’d comply with anything that is happening,” he said.

“The hotel that has been sorted out for us is actually very, very good. The possibility of players going into the town now might be a bit of an issue, whereas we thought before that it looked really lovely.

“The town there, Versailles itself, is just really excellent, and it’s only a three-, four-, five-minute walk as well, so all of those things looked pretty good. If, of course, security is tightened, as it probably will be, then maybe the players might have to stay closer to the hotel.

“I don’t think we want to turn away supporters but, at the same time, I think people will realise that security might be very, very tight.”

Meanwhile, the FAI issued a statement yesterday on the security implications of the terror threat to Euro 2016.

“Obviously, Belgium has refocused attention on this terrible phenomenon of global terror.

“We at the FAI would be led by An Garda Síochána, the Department of Foreign Affairs, and Uefa in all matters relating to security around Euro 2016 and we are in regular dialogue and consultation, and a process was already there pre-yesterday.

“The Association is also holding at least weekly security planning sessions for Euro 2016, which have been ongoing since qualification last November.

“As you know, our first game in November against Bosnia-Herzegovina took place on the night of the terrible attacks in Paris and, since then, the safety and security of fans and of the team and everything that goes with that, has been of absolutely paramount importance.

“We are absolutely engaged with that process and it continues, sadly.”

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