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COMMENT: Is Dublin up to hosting major events?

Monday, 25th November, 2019 7:59am

Story by Tony McCullagh
COMMENT: Is Dublin up to hosting major events?

The Aviva Stadium is impressive - but getting there can be a problem. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

COMMENT: Is Dublin up to hosting major events?

The Aviva Stadium is impressive - but getting there can be a problem. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

WHETHER the Republic of Ireland eventually manages to qualify or not, all eyes will be on Dublin next summer for Euro 2020 when we host four games at the Aviva.

The former Lansdowne Road stadium is certainly impressive and can hold its own against any international sports venue. With some justification, we will be allowed to feel a sense of national pride as images of the mighty Aviva are broadcast around the world next June.

I’ve been to the Aviva many times, both for international soccer games and rock concerts. Despite its massive scale, I’ve always found it extremely well-run and very family-friendly and would never have any hesitation about bringing my kids to a game there.

But like many great landmarks in Dublin, it’s the going there and getting home that takes the good out of every occasion.

Last week, Lansdowne Road DART station was closed for the Republic of Ireland game against Denmark. This was a trial run for Euro 2020 and the experiment will be reviewed by the FAI and Iarnród Éireann ahead of next summer.

It’s all to do with crowd control and being able to deal effectively with fans who turn up on the doorstep of the Aviva without tickets. Presumably there is an element of method to the madness.

Personally, I gave up taking the train to the Aviva a long time ago after a near-crush experience on a dangerously overcrowded DART. Since then, I’ve taken the car and on each occasion have been forced to endure a trail of tears, from nightmare traffic tailbacks along the East Link to limited, overpriced car-parking. By the time you take your seat in the Aviva, you’re already plotting an early exit to avoid the post-match chaos on the roads.

Visiting football fans will no doubt marvel at the Aviva next year. But they may also be struck by our capital city’s limited public transport options as they sit in their overpriced hotels, with room rates opportunistically hiked to capitalise on a major event.

And fingers crossed that our foreign guests won’t have to boil their water or do without ice in their drinks while they’re here.

I would love to be proven wrong but somehow I can’t see Dublin hosting the Olympic Games in the near future.

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