Paris to honour Ireland’s two sets of ‘wonderful’ fans

UPDATED: Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is to award a medal to Ireland's "Green Army" and Northern Ireland's "Green and White Army" for the fun and support they have brought to Euro 2016.

Paris to honour Ireland's two sets of 'wonderful' fans
Photo: AFP

The Republic of Ireland's and Northern Ireland's fans are to be awarded the City of Paris medal for their “sportsmanship” at Euro 2016, the French capital's mayor announced on Tuesday.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters on a visit to the city's fanzone that she had sent a letter to Ireland's president Michael D. Higgins and northern Irish officials to tell them of her decision.

Hidalgo said the two sets of supporters deserved the honour after displaying “exemplary sportsmanship” and for the “good atmosphere” they generated as they followed their sides through the first round and to last 16 where Ireland lost to France and Northern Ireland went down to Wales.

The Republic's 'Green Army' have been a feature of the tournament, winning over French locals as they passionately supported their team.

The Local has already ranked them the best fans in the tournament, you just have to watch some of the videos of their fans in action to see why.

They have sung lullabies to babies on the Metro, shown vocal support for French police, changed the tyre of an elderly couple's car in Paris and serenaded a nun on a train.

And the Northern Irish fans were not far behind in our rankings.
Ireland's manager Martin O'Neill paid tribute to the Republic's supporters after his side's closing game in Lyon last Sunday.

“The fans have been wonderful in our four games and I believe they gave extra energy to the players throughout the tournament,” he said.

“The players mentioned their support in the warm-up against Sweden, before our first game, and that's continued until the end.

“They (the fans) have behaved themselves brilliantly and been a credit to the country.”

A date for the medal ceremony will be announced at a later date.

READ ALSO: And the best fans at Euro 2016 are?

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Students and staff pay tribute to Irish university teacher murdered in Paris

Students and staff at a Paris university have spoken of their shock at the fatal stabbing of popular Irish lecturer John Dowling, who was killed by a former student outside the establishment where he taught.

Students and staff pay tribute to Irish university teacher murdered in Paris
A photo of John Dowling. Photo: Pole Universitaire Leonard de Vinci

The 66-year-old teacher, an Irishman who taught English, was stabbed repeatedly in front of the private Leonard-de-Vinci university in Courbevoie, northwest of Paris.

A Pakistani man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of murder.

Sources said the suspect, who is in custody, was a former student at the university who was born in Pakistan in 1981 and was not previously known to police.It was not yet known whether Mr Dowling had taught the student.

Students and staff at the private university paid tribute to Mr Dowling, who was originally from Dublin.

Anne Bertrand a former student told The Local: “John was always in a good mood, always smiling, always joking. He was en excellent teacher, adapting to each student at their level, and giving them exactly what they needed

“His classes were the opposite of boring. Actually we had so much fun that sometimes, people working on the same floor had to ask us to keep it down! 

“John was as modest as he was competent. He was also a free spirit, absolutely open-minded and tolerant, and his long life experience as well as his many interests made him a delightful conversationist. His death is a great loss.”
Another ormer student Yosra Ibrahem told The Local: “He was a good person who was known and well-liked by all. He was positive, dedicated and motivated and never did anything bad to anyone.

“Mr Dowling was one of the best teachers I had throughout my whole education.”

Fellow staff member Linda McLaren said: “My heart goes out to John Dowling, fellow teacher who was brutally taken today by one of our former students.

“We had just spoken to him before leaving the university. Words cannot describe our grief as we have known John for over 15 years and he was a nice gentle man who was looking forward to his retirement.”

Stephen Amoah, a 28-year-old student from Ghana said: “It's heartbreaking. We still can't believe it.”

His classmate Jad Sharif, a 33-year-old from Lebanon, described the murdered teacher as “very kind”.

Students showed photographs of the white-bearded Irishman on their mobile phones, smiling and arm in arm with members of his class.

A statement from the Leonard de Vinci school where Mr Dowling taught paid a warm tribute to the tragic teacher.

The statement said: “On Wednesday, one of our lecturers was stabbed to death in front of the Leonard de Vinci campus. It happened outside the institution on Mona Lisa square.

“The victim is John Dowling, 66, who has been teaching English at Leonard de Vinci schools since 1999.

“The aggressor has been arrested. This person had spent a few months as a student in one of De Vinci schools and had been expelled in August 2017 as he did not validate his studies.

“John was a very friendly man, respected and loved by all students and colleagues. He was also known for his great availability and kindness.

“The community of the Pole Leonard de Vinci is deeply shocked and saddened by this tragedy of extreme violence. We express our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of John Dowling.”