Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 May 2016

World Cup 2014: We won't be Cross even if England win, say west Belfast residents

By David Whelan

Published 13/06/2014

Brazil World Cup supporter Bobby Maginn at Iris Drive off the Springfield Road. Pic Brian Little
Brazil World Cup supporter Bobby Maginn at Iris Drive off the Springfield Road. Pic Brian Little

The beginning of the World Cup has sparked fresh flag controversy in Northern Ireland – but it's all in the samba spirit.

A street in west Belfast has caught the attention of passers-by after residents hung the flags of all 32 nations competing in Rio from their homes – even the St George's Cross of old enemy England.

The colourful and impressive display on Iris Drive has been organised by a group of local window cleaners who held a sweep for countries and put up flags for participating homeowners.

Sandy Turley, Packi Ryan and Stephen Walsh said residents were more than happy to get involved once they told them about their idea.

"The atmosphere and community spirit in response has been overwhelming," Sandy said.

"We are running on a motto of 'embrace the race', so whoever you got – even England – you have to fly the flag and support your team."

Mick Goodman drew the dreaded England ticket but said he was taking it in good spirits.

"I've been dubbed English Mick and there has been a lot fun poked our way, but it's all in good fun," he said.

"Some of the houses pulled Algeria and countries with no hope, I'm happy to be in the mix – even if it is England," he joked.

Paul Davey, a resident in Iris Drive and who has helped organise the event, said it was great to finally have some positive flag news.

A huge street party is planned on the day of the World Cup final, with the match being projected on to an outside wall for everyone to watch.

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