Irish police braced as England fans arrive in Dublin for friendly
Hundreds of gardai are being deployed on the streets of Dublin in a security plan designed to prevent a repeat of the violence that led to the abandonment of the last Republic of Ireland v England soccer friendly in the Irish capital 20 years ago.
Senior Garda officers said last night they had no intelligence indicating that troublemakers were on their way.
They insisted they were adopting a low-key approach to the game while at the same time they were prepared for any eventualities.
The big security plan swung into operation at 4pm yesterday with uniformed patrols in the city centre being backed up by two full-strength public order units.
The special units maintained a visible presence on the streets, rather than on stand-by in the background, but were "soft hatted" instead of being kitted out in riot gear.
The number of public order units is expected to be doubled with a significant increase in uniformed officers as a steady stream of English fans arrive in Dublin.
Special emphasis is being placed on the Temple Bar area, where many of the visiting fans are expected to congregate.
Policing patrols will be stepped up further along the route from the city centre to the Aviva stadium and again after the game.
A group of police "spotters" from several English forces are flying into Dublin to help gardai in identifying any known troublemakers.
Only three thousand tickets have been sold to English clubs, but up to 2,000 more fans are expected to turn up, either with tickets obtained elsewhere or hoping to purchase them in Dublin.
Gardai said they were hopeful that football hooligans would stay away because of the tough sanctions that can be imposed by the English police, who can confiscate their passports and prevent them from travelling to games.