BY THOMAS KINSELLA (http://newsfromireland-quirkynews.blogspot.com)
A group of 52 Irish schoolkids have pulled out of a planned school trip to Paris in protest against the failure of the French FA to make any conciliatory gesture in the Thierry Henry "cheatgate" affair.
The fourth-year students from Ballyeighter Secondary School in Westmeath were to spend four nights in the French capital early next month, but last night, they took a vote to switch their trip to Munich as anger mounted in the saga over the controversial goal which knocked Ireland out of the World Cup.
The trip for which the students were paying €500 each had been planned for five months but the students said that they were boycotting Paris because they felt Ireland had been cheated by the French and the world football body FIFA.
Principal Sheila O Baoill said last evening that the teachers had not put any pressure on the students in the vote.
"The travel company had told us that next Monday would be the last day that we could change our destination, and such was the anger and disappointment in the
in the school after Wednesday's match that the students decided to take a vote on it.
"They said that they did not want to be supporting the tourism of a country that had not shown Ireland any respect and one that did not stand by the integrity of international sporting rules.
"They then took a vote and all 52 students voted to cancel Paris and go instead to Munich," she said.
Student leader Micheal Sheridan said that it was just a small gesture but one that he hoped would be replicated by other potential holiday-makers from Ireland who were considering supporting French tourism.
"I don't think in any way that this will have much impact on French tourism or make the French FA reconsider, but we feel that we are proud of our country and we will not spend our holiday money in a country that is represented by cheats in their national football team.
"They showed little respect for Ireland in Croke Park with the way they behaved and this latest act of deceitment, allied with the behaviour of FIFA in the seeding process has angered us all.
"This is a stand for Ireland and for our national pride," he said, adding that all French products should be boycotted for a period of time.