Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016: Northern Ireland's Green and White army descend on France as tournament set to begin

Fans face travel chaos due to wave of strikes

By Adrian Rutherford

Hundreds of Northern Ireland fans have arrived in Nice today for the team’s Euro 2016 opener against Poland.

Large numbers of supporters, many dressed in green and white jerseys, were passing through the city’s airport early this morning.

<< Euro 2016: Northern Ireland fans on tour and at home - send us your pictures >>

At least 10,000 fans are expected here ahead of Sunday’s opening game against the Poles.

Among those arriving this morning was long-time supporter Stephen Barr.

Mr Barr, who works as a press officer for the Ulster Unionist Party, said: “We came through Paris last night and flew down this morning.

“We are all very excited. It’s going to get real very quickly as we see the fans gathering.

“We’re all looking forward to a big game on Sunday.”

Mr Barr is in France until June 28, and is attending all three of Northern Ireland’s games.

After Sunday, the team play Ukraine in Lyon on Thursday.

They then face Germany at Paris’s Parc des Princes on June 21.

The tournament kicks off tonight with hosts France taking on Romania at the Stade de France.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland fans arriving for Euro 2016 are facing travel chaos as a wave of strikes continue to hit the country.

A stand-off involving rail unions which has shut down many train services is continuing.

Train drivers are threatening to strike on a line serving the Stade de France tonight.

Just one in three trains were running between Charles de Gaulle airport and the centre of Paris on Thursday.

On Wednesday protesting workers from France’s hardline CGT union blocked Paris’s Gare du Nord station as a train carrying the tournament’s trophy arrived.

Meanwhile, talks are continuing to avert a planned air strike which could ground flights this weekend.

Air France pilots plan to go ahead with a four-day stoppage over their working conditions, starting on Saturday.

The wave of disruption comes as supporters arrive for the start of Euro 2016.

One Northern Ireland fan heading to this weekend’s game against Poland was forced to tear up his travel plans at the last minute.

His train from Paris to Nice today was cancelled. Instead, he has had to take a flight from Dublin direct to Nice.

Belfast Telegraph Digital