Posted on May 17
Ireland will wear black armbands for their Euro 2012 match against Italy, the Football Association of Ireland said Thursday, in memory of a massacre in which six men died exactly 18 years before.
Six Catholic men died on June 18, 1994 in Northern Ireland when Protestant paramilitaries fired into a bar in the village of Loughinisland, where people had gathered to watch Ireland play Italy in the World Cup in the United States.
The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) said it had approached the game's European authority UEFA and been granted permission for the commemoration during the June 18 game in Poznan, Poland.
Northern Ireland, which remains part of the United Kingdom, has its own separate football team but it did not qualify for Euro 2012.
"What happened in Loughinisland in 1994 was an awful tragedy and deeply moving for all football fans," said FAI chief executive John Delaney.
"I would like to thank UEFA for assisting us in commemorating this atrocity and take the opportunity to remember all those who lost their lives in the Troubles."
Four years after the massacre, the 1998 peace accords largely ended Northern Ireland's Troubles, three decades of sectarian violence between pro-British Protestants and republican Catholics that left more than 3,000 dead.
The FAI added that the football team's gesture would be "particularly poignant" because the victims were watching Ireland play Italy when they were killed.
Niall Murphy, the solicitor acting for the families of those who died, thanked football authorities and said they were "touched that this tragic event can be commemorated on such a poignant day".