Safety at Euro 2016 of paramount importance, says O'Neill

David Maher/Sportsfile
The former Celtic and Leicester City head coach says that the Boys in Green will have to adhere to whatever security measures are put in place

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill says that the safety of fans, players and staff is of paramount importance to him given the recent attacks in Brussels.

The terrorist attacks claimed the lives of 32 people in the Belgian capital and O’Neill said that the Irish team will comply with any measures necessary in order to ensure the safety of all involved, even if that means playing games behind closed doors.

"I think it’s very difficult if someone wants to attack," O’Neill told reporters in Dublin. "It’s very, very difficult to deal with that, but overall I think the security we’ve been provided with is really excellent."

Uefa executive committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete said on Wednesday that the federation could not rule out the prospect that games at this summer's European Championship could be played behind closed doors if there were sufficient concerns over terrorism.

It’s a prospect that O’Neill admits, while unfortunate, particularly for fans that have already paid for hotels and tickets, is something that the association may just have to adhere to.

"If that is an alternative, and that is the only alternative, then I think that if we’re going to enter the competition then we might have to comply with it," the former Celtic boss added.

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"It’s not ideal, and of course people will at this stage have paid a lot of money to get tickets and get sorted out, so if it comes to that it’s going to be very difficult to deal with.

"But if that’s the only solution then we may have to go with it. I’ll see, it’s obviously been sprung on us now at this moment and there might be different thoughts getting closer to the next few weeks."

FAI Director of Communications, Ian Mallon, also revealed that the association has been having weekly meetings regarding security and that they will be working closely with the relevant authorities in order to alleviate safety concerns.