Mick McCarthy, manager or the Irish Football Team, visited UNICEF projects around Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 1 to 3 April 2002 with UNICEF Ireland. He highlighted the importance of mine awareness for children.
Mr. McCarthy travelled with Maura Quinn, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland and met with young football players, many of whom are mine victims from the years following the 1992-95 conflict. He also visited schools to meet children, many of whom were displaced or had lost family members during the war.
"It is desperately sad that school children should have be taught about the dangers of landmines,” said Mr. McCarthy, who was shocked by what he saw. “I was in a school where the children were doing role-play about finding a mine, not touching it and going and fetching the police. The mines are littered all over the place still, out in the countryside, and, of course, kids go and play football or they go out walking, go out on bikes and they can encounter the mines which do huge damage."
The children he met "were lovely, just trying to lead ordinary lives in very difficult circumstances" he said.