Irish Merkel banner makes cover of 'Bild'


FORMER chancellor Gerhard Schröder once said that, if you had something to say in Germany, it was best to say it on the telly or to Bild.

Irish football fans in Poland got through loud and clear in Berlin yesterday when their “Angela Merkel Thinks We’re at Work” banner made the front page of Germany’s best-selling newspaper.

In a front-page piece headlined “Irish Euro greetings to the chancellor”, Germany’s mass-market paper told its eight million readers the Irish were “pulling the chancellor’s leg”.

“Merkel has the reputation in Europe of being a tough-as-nails defender of saving, who doesn’t accept a lack of willingness to suffer. That’s something the Irish see humorously.”

“For their Euro aid package, they promised to work hard. Which they do. Except when it’s the European Championships.”

The original image, taken in Dublin airport last Friday, went viral on social networking sites, before reaching the front page of two Irish national newspapers and the BBC website.

The woman in question saw the image after The Irish Times forwarded it to her spokesman, Steffen Seibert. Yesterday he declined to describe her reaction on the record. “If we comment on one picture, we have to comment on them all,” said Mr Seibert. “But I will say that some are a lot funnier than others.”

One of the group, Richie Touhy from Dromkeen, Co Limerick, said he was “blown away” by the international attention, adding that the group members had been treated like stars in Poland since they arrived last weekend.