Northern Ireland news

Portuguese fans celebrate Euro 2016 win on Dungannon streets

Portuguese fans celebrate after their team wins Euro 2016 on Sunday night. Picture by Pacemaker

PORTUGAL'S last minute victory in the Euro 2016 final prompted hundreds of Portuguese ex-pats to celebrate in their adopted Co Tyrone home.

Fans congregated in Dungannon's main square on Sunday night to celebrate their team's first-ever win in a major championship.

People drove in convoy around the town, blew their car horns and waved Portuguese flags after the one-nil victory against hosts France in Paris.

Many fans congregated to celebrate near Ulster Unionist councillor Walter Cuddy's newsagent's shop.

Mr Cuddy said people in the town were surprised and pleased by the win and the celebrations, which lasted well into the early hours of yesterday.

"Hundreds of fans gathered at the top of the square in Dungannon last night," he said. "Many were tooting horns and waving flags. I live in the town so I heard them and did think about going out myself but it was a bit late for me."

He said the celebrations were taken in good spirit.

"It was a real Mediterranean atmosphere - quite mild with no rain," he said.

"It was a great result and more power to them. I have a few Portuguese staff and they said their parents and relatives were out celebrating."

Mr Cuddy said Dungannon has had a small Portuguese population for at least 15 years, including greater numbers of people from former Portuguese colonies including around 1,000 immigrants from East Timor in the Indonesian archipelago, and others from Angola and Mozambique as well as Portuguese-speaking Brazilians.

Portuguese fans celebrating in Dungannon, Co Tyrone, after their team's Euro 2016 win. Picture by Pacemaker

Many immigrants first came to work in local factories but many have settled and set up businesses, including a cafe, in the town.

Mr Cuddy said the surprise win had given the town a boost.

"You'd have thought with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland out of the championships that would have been us so everyone was surprised by last night," he said.

"It was completely positive though, nothing negative about it at all. Portugal won their first championship and fair dues to them."

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