A move that would have seen Martin O’Neill’s Irish soccer team honoured for their Euro2016 qualification by his hometown council has been voted down by councillors.
Causeway Coast and Glens Council plan on hosting a civic reception for the Northern Ireland team - who have also qualified for next summer’s championships - but on Tuesday night voted against also inviting the Republic’s footballers.
Manager Martin O’Neill’s hometown of Kilrea falls within the council borough.
Sinn Fein councillor Dermot Nicholl said he was disappointed by the vote.
He said an opportunity for inclusiveness had been squandered by an ‘anti Irish ethos.’
“I am disappointed by the petty mindedness of Unionist councillors who have shown utter contempt for the many fans of the Republic of Ireland throughout the borough and the rest of the North.”
“It is in particular bad taste considering the manager is a former native of our Council area as he comes from Kilrea.
“I know of many young people who travelled down to Dublin last Monday to cheer on the team as they defeated Bosnia on what was a very memorable night and they will be bitterly disappointed to be left out in such a way.
“This was an opportunity to show inclusiveness in celebrating the magnificent achievements by both teams in reaching the Euro finals next year which some Unionist councillors have squandered due to their anti Irish ethos,” he said.