Dublin clash Glentoran fans face court
Five Glentoran supporters will appear in a Dublin court today after being arrested at a Setanta Cup clash with Bohemians
The five men, all in their 30s and 40s, were arrested on public order offences before and during the match in Dublin's Dalymount Park on Saturday.
Three of the men were arrested after fighting briefly broke out shortly after kick-off.
It is understood that gardai intervened when a Glentoran supporter attempted to erect an Ulster flag at the stadium.
The other two men were arrested before the game.
The garda press office said that all were charged with public order offences and released on bail. They will appear in court this morning.
Glentoran director Jim Rodgers said it was not the first occasion that Irish League fans had experienced trouble in the Republic.
“I would have to point the finger at the policing, which left a lot to be desired,” he said.
“We’ve seen it before with Linfield fans. Instead of operating a sensible policing policy, they go at it like a bull in a china shop, it doesn’t help community relations.
“The Garda Siochana need specialist training in how to handle crowds. We see it with trade union demonstrations down south, they seem to overreact.”
Mr Rodgers, who is also a Belfast City councillor, intends to pursue the matter with the gardai to avoid further problems.
“There are going to be more games — Linfield are going down to Dublin on Easter Saturday to play Bohemians — and I don’t want to see the police adopting similar tactics,” he added.
“There is absolutely no need for it, the fans of the clubs here know they’re representing Northern Ireland and the city of Belfast, and they don’t go out looking for trouble.”
Glentoran chairman Aubry Relph, who saw the trouble from the stand, agreed that gardai had not dealt with the situation well.
“From what I can gather the incident erupted when a fan put up a Northern Ireland flag and the guards were having none of it,” he said.
“One guard removed it and from then there were batons out and people were beaten.
“I’ve spoken to several officials and fans and they all tell me it was very heavy-handed.”