Northern Ireland

Euro 2016: Flags fly on west Belfast street for football sweepstake

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Media captionA Northern Ireland flag is one of many flying on Iris Drive ahead of Euro 2016

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.

Image caption Three separate sweepstakes were carried out to accommodate everyone who wanted to take part

Back then, the English flag which was cheerfully raised outside a house to the bemusement of residents.

Sandy Turley, one of the organisers, said it was a great success.

"Every resident in the street was involved, the kids loved it," he said.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption "It's not a political thing - it doesn't matter if it's the Republic, Northern Ireland, or England," Sandy said.

"We also had a street party and everyone came out and enjoyed themselves."

More than 60 flags adorn houses on Iris Drive, including those representing the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

Only 24 nations qualified for the tournament, but demand for flags was high that three separate sweepstakes were carried out to cover everyone who wanted to take part.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Each of the qualifying nations in the championship is represented on Iris Drive in what has been described as a "sweepstake with a difference".

"It's not a political thing - it doesn't matter if it's the Republic, Northern Ireland, or England," Sandy said.

"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."

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