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Order of Business
Snippet Contents:

I, too, was disappointed with the result last night, but we have had some great times and next year it will be 30 years undefeated by England. We should note that fact. The call for an all-Ireland soccer team is interesting. In 1880 when the Irish Football Association, IFA, was set up, it covered all of Ireland. In 1921 the Football Association of Ireland, FAI, was set up following the establishment of the Free State. A lot of work was done between 1973 and 1978 when players such as George Best, Johnny Giles and Derek Dougan called for an all-Ireland soccer team. The GAA ban did not help, but things have changed to the point where we would love to see an all-Ireland soccer team. However, it is not a one-way street but a two-way street. If we want to get our Northern Ireland colleagues on board, we must do something about it. I congratulate supporters from Northern Ireland on what happened in France last year. Supporters from the North and the South worked together and greeted one another on the streets in France. We have, therefore, come a long way, but if we want to have an all-Ireland soccer team, we must embrace other aspects of the issue. We should consider having an all-Ireland team at the Commonwealth Games. Unless we start to act as if it was a two-way street, we will never have an all-Ireland soccer team, but it is wonderful that we are talking about such issues today. There is Donegal Celtic and I remember Linfield coming here to play. Things have changed so much that it is possible for us to dream about having an all-Ireland soccer team, but, as I said, it is a two-way street and if we believe we should have such a team, we should not be afraid to embrace participation in the Commonwealth Games and other such issues because amalgamation will require give and take. I welcome the initiative which is very positive and shows the space in which we find ourselves today.