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Wearing of the British Poppy

A Chara,

The debate about whether or not to wear a British poppy in Ireland has once again engaged the general public.
 The same arguments for and against are once again presented. The most cited argument in favour seems to be “Remember those Irishmen who perished in WW1”. The most cited against seems to be a belief that wearing a poppy in Ireland is an attack on those who support the concept of the Irish Nation State and an insult to those who died fighting for it. Many of these and other, controversial points can be laid to rest simply by reading some of the ample information on the wearing of the poppy provided by the Royal British Legion. They and they alone produce and distribute the poppy.
 On the legions official website they state that virtually all of the survivors of WW1 are now deceased. They then go on to state that the poppy should be worn to support all the British Military Service Personal who served in all conflicts since 1945. The wearing of the Poppy is to honour ALL current and former British Soldiers, Sailors and Air Men in all conflicts. This is stressed again and again by the British Legion and repeated by British Politicians and commentators.  To further emphasize this point the Legion dedicates the wearing of the poppy each year to serving soldiers. This year it is dedicated to those in Afghanistan and last year it was dedicated to “our heroes in Basra” . This means that wearing the Poppy in Ireland honours all the British Soldiers who committed all the atrocities   in Ireland. You can not conveniently isolate the wearing of the Poppy in Ireland to WW1 and WW2. You can not simply ignore the fact that you are honouring the Black and Tans, the Murders of Bloody Sunday (both), the executioners of 1916 and so forth
 Every year some media commentators tell us yet again that we should wear a poppy to remember the Irish soldiers who died in WW1. Indeed we should remember. We should remember that no Irish soldiers died in WW1. Unfortunately tens of thousands of British soldiers, recruited in Ireland did loose their young lives in that terrible conflict. We should also remember the many Irish soldiers who did die at the time of WW1. They died in Ireland, most died fighting the British army, some were executed, while some were simply murdered.
 There was much publicity recently when the Grangemockler G.A.A. club in Tipperary held commemorative events dedicated to “our greatest son” Michael Hogan. The Hogan stand in Croke Park is named in honour of him. Michael Hogan was but one of the 14 civilians shot dead in Croke Park by British soldiers on November 21st 1920, an event that quickly became known as Bloody Sunday.
 This year the G.A.A. celebrates its 125th anniversary a truly great achievement. The association has had to adapt and compete with the many codes of sports now so readily available to our youth.  This weekend will see the Republic of Ireland team play France in Croke Park a week before the anniversary of Bloody Sunday. I am sure some people will pause on the night to remember. I hope they choose to remember the victims’ of Bloody Sunday especially the children, rather than the uniformed thugs who murdered them. “Lest we forget”

Is Mise
Sean Whelan

National Graves Association
Box 7105
74 Dame Street
Dublin 2.