Thursday, 16 June 2016

Window Cleaners Brainchild Unites Northern Ireland

Flags fly on west Belfast street for football sweepstake. A Northern Ireland flag is not the most common sight on west Belfast's Springfield Road. But it is one of many flying proudly on one street ahead of the Euro 2016 football tournament. Each of the qualifying nations in the championship is represented on Iris Drive in what has been described as a "sweepstake with a difference". A group of window cleaners first had the idea ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Euro 2016: England and Northern Ireland flags fly in west Belfast street for football sweepstake: They are just some of the 60 flags flying in Iris Drive, off the Springfield Road, that represent each of the qualifying nations in the tournament for a neighbourhood sweepstake.

The colourful and impressive display was organised by locals who held a sweep for countries and put up flags for participating homeowners. Although only 24 nations qualified for the championship, demand for flags was so high that three separate sweepstakes were carried out so that everyone could join in.

'It's not a political's a bit of banter'
One of the organisers Sandy Turley told the BBC: "Every resident in the street was involved, the kids loved it. "We also had a street party and everyone came out and enjoyed themselves. "It's not a political thing - it doesn't matter if it's the Republic, Northern Ireland, or England. We like to see everyone represented. It's a bit of banter - I've my money on France but I got Germany in the sweepstake, so I'm not worried."

The neighbourhood sweepstake was the brainchild of local window cleaners and was first started ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

England, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland flags are flying in one west Belfast street ahead of Euro 2016.

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