There’s a man writing in the Letters column of the Irish Times this morning, lamenting that the IT’s columnist Miriam Lord has poked fun at the number of people in Britain who wear poppies. The letter man points to the Enniskillen bombing, and remembers how “Senator John Robb wore a poppy in the senate and offered to the then Cathaoirleach Senator Sean Fallon.of Fianna Fail. Fianna Fáil. The latter graciously accepted it and placed it on his lapel.”
Could you ask for a better example of the gulf that exists between those in the south (the letter-writer is from Mayo) and here in the North?
There, the Mayoman laments the way it takes courage to wear a poppy i Here in the north it’s vice versa. In some quarters it’s simply frowned on when someone doesn’t wear a poppy. If you work in television, you will not be let near that camera if you don’t decorate your bosom, regardless of what you may think of the British army which carried out so many atrocities in Ireland over the decades and centuries.
If someone chooses to wear a poppy, fine. That’s their decision. But to think that, year after year, the BBC and ITV pressures its employees into wearing this emblem is outrageous. As the eminent theologian Father Jack put it: liberal tolerance my arse.