Northern Ireland news

Sports and music events cancelled in wake of attacks

U2 cancelled their Paris gig and lay flowers in tribute to the victims of the city's terrorist attacks  

ULSTER rugby fans left tributes to the victims of the Paris attacks following the postponement of their game in France.

Ulster had been due to play a European Champions Cup game against Oyonnax at the Stade Charles Mathon close to the Swiss border but the match was called off as a mark of respect.

It was among numerous sports fixtures and other high-profile events, including a planned U2 concert in Paris and a Foo Fighters gig due to take place tonight, to be cancelled to allow the country to mourn.

Bono and his bandmates laid flowers outside the Bataclan Theatre, scene of the worst loss of life.

The singer, who had been rehearsing with bandmates around three miles away when news came through, described the targeting of concert-goers as "the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called war on terror".

"It's very upsetting. These are our people. This could be me at a show. You at a show, in that venue. It's a very recognizable situation for you and for me and the coldblooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that's what I can't get out of my head," he said.

"I think U2 has a role to play and I can't wait till we get back to Paris and play and that's what I'm feeling from the messages we're receiving from music fans is these people will not set our agenda.

The band are due to resume their Innocent and Experience tour in Belfast this week.

Tourist attractions including Disneyland Paris at the Eiffel Tower were also closed in the wake of the attacks.

However, England's friendly football international against France at Wembley will go ahead tomorrow following three days of national mourning.

Ulster fans pinned flags outside the Oyonnax ground with slogans including "Respect for Paris" to show solidarity with the victims.

Ulster team manager Bryn Cunningham said postponing the game was "the right thing".

"Our supporter base is probably one of the best in world rugby and that is shown by how many came out to support the team here in Oyonnax," he said.

Meanwhile, periods of silence have been observed at sporting fixtures across Europe including at all GAA venues in Ulster yesterday.

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