Euro 16 to at be shown on outdoor Big Screen in city centre

James McClean looks set to hit the big screen in his home town.

James McClean looks set to hit the big screen in his home town.

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Forthcoming Euro 16 fixtures are to be shown on the Big Screen at Waterloo Place in Derry, following a request to Council officers to organise the event.

Sinn Fein Councillor Elisha McCallion requested that all Ireland and Northern Ireland games are shown in public, along with the quarter, semi-final and final games in the tournament.

The issue was raised at the June Business & Culture meeting sitting in Strabane this evening.

Colr. McCallion said that there was “merit in scoping out the use of that large screen in Waterloo Place” for forthcoming sporting occasions such as the Olympics and the World Cup.

She added: “Our people are saying to us why do we not have a Fanzone when we have the equipment there. I am asking officers to scope out doing that.”

Colr. McCallion said the Waterloo Place area could again be made into a “proper, safe and enjoyable fanzone”.

“We have seen how effective it can be when we do it and do it right.

“It is very regrettable we don’t have it for the Euros,” she added, while appealing to council officers to look at bringing it into use for the remainder of the tournament if possible.”

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney backed the proposals.

Referring to the Fanzone erected in Belfast, he said: “I have to say I was a bit jealous. We have the Big Screen there and I have to hold my hands up - I don’t know what it’s for.”

Stephen Gillespie, the Council’s Director of Business and Culture, said officers have scoped out using the Big Screen for the Euros and it can be done with the costs to do it already accounted for.

Colr. McCallion said that “whatever it takes”, the screen should be used for every Ireland and Northern Ireland match as well as the later stage matches.

“I’m going to propose that whatever it takes for that to happen, we make that happen,” she said.

Colr. Tierney seconded this, adding later: “Dedicated fan zones across Europe have been a huge success, bringing people together and creating a great atmosphere throughout the tournament. “Showing Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland matches on the council screen at Waterloo place offers a real opportunity to unite people in our city through sport.”

Independent Councillor Darren O’Reilly raised a few laughs when he quipped it might also be an idea to screen the matches of “anybody playing England”, while SDLP Councillor John Boyle called for the Big Screen to be sorted out as soon as possible.

No date has been given as yet for the first match to be screened, and it is unclear whether it will be ready in time for Saturday’s Ireland match against Belgium.