Belfast Telegraph

Republic fans booing God Save the Queen a 'disgrace', says Sinn Fein TD

A Sinn Fein TD has hit out at fans of the Republic of Ireland heard booing the British national anthem during Thursday's match against Northern Ireland.

Meeting for the first time in seven years, the two sides played out a 0-0 draw at the Aviva Stadium.

Matches between the two sides have historically proved contentious, with the November 1993 clash in Belfast just one month after the Greysteel shooting and Shankill Road bombing remembered in infamy for the tension which surrounded it.

Due to security concerns around the match the Republic's players were flown to Belfast from Dublin, and the FAI - the football association for the Republic - took the decision to sell none of its ticket allocation.

Thursday's international friendly mostly passed off without incident, with the exception of a small number of the Republic's fans booing the British national anthem God Save the Queen.

Some reciprocal booing could also be heard during the Republic's national anthem Amhran na bhFiann.

Sinn Fein TD for Cork South-Central Donnchadh O Laoghaire hit out on Twitter at the "minority of Irish fans" who chose to boo the British national anthem, calling them "a disgrace".

"That lack of respect and tolerance is the antithesis of republicanism," he added.

Responding to the tweet, Fine Gael's Brexit spokesperson Senator Neale Richmond wrote: "Dead right Donnchadh."

Mr O Laoghaire's comments echo those made by the Republic's Tanaiste and Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who hit out at a "small number of idiots" responsible for the booing.

"Competitive friendly, but Northern Ireland were our guests tonight in Dublin!" he wrote.

DUP leader Arlene Foster, who attended the match and met with the Irish Foreign Minister, thanked Simon Coveney on Twitter for his message, adding "NI almost clinched it too!"

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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