With the possibility that this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament could be targeted by terrorists, Eamon Dunphy has admitted he would not feel safe attending the event in France.
The RTÉ analyst was speaking in the aftermath of Old Trafford being evacuated on Sunday after a suspect package was found in the stadium just before the start of the Manchester United-Bournemouth Premier League clash.
The package was found to be harmless – a fake bomb not removed after a training exercise.
Nevertheless, the sight of thousands leaving the Old Trafford stadium gave the initial impression that the situation was serious, a reminder of disruption that can be caused by those with sinister intent.
With the European Championships less than a month away, Dunphy believes the month-long event “is an obvious target” for terrorists following on from the attacks in Paris last November.
“It’s the world we live now, with the likes of ISIS or ISIL as they are so called stating explicitly that the Euros are a target,” he said on RTÉ 2fm’s Game On.
“It does cast a shadow over the European Championships. You'll have many stadiums and many targets. They did strike at the Stade de France during the France-Germany friendly. There were three suicide bombers there.”
“When you look at the opportunities these terrorists have during the Euros this summer, I would be very surprised if they don't attempt some atrocity."
Quite tellingly, Dunphy went on to say that he would not be attending the Euros.
“I was in France at the weekend and people are still not over what happened in Paris. I wouldn't go to the European Championships. I would be extremely troubled if anybody close to me went. The effect on Parisians has been severe.
“When you look at the opportunities these terrorists have during the Euros this summer, I would be very surprised if they don't attempt some atrocity. The tournament is a month long and the targets are numerous.
"The French police say they will have SAS style security squads within 20 minutes of every hotspot, well it doesn't take 20 minutes for something to happen. Personally speaking I would not go the European Championships.”
And even though Dunphy feels we should not let terrorists win in their objective to provoke, he added that sport will continue to be a target.
"There is a counter argument that we can't allow terrorists determine how we live, that if we let them frighten us they'll have succeeded," he added.
"Taking everything into account, in a purely personal capacity, I would not go to take this particular chance.
"I think in the future in the world we live in, sport will be a target. It's our most popular culture and if they can damage that, they will have succeeded."