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Tuesday 25 September 2018

'Refreshing to see' - readers have their say on the Taoiseach's decision to wear a 'Shamrock Poppy' in the Dáil

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wearing a Shamrock Poppy in the Dáil, similar to the one pictured inset
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wearing a Shamrock Poppy in the Dáil, similar to the one pictured inset
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wore a 'Shamrock Poppy' in the Dáil on Tuesday to "recognise Irish soldiers who fought in World War I" sparking debate.

The move was a first for a Fine Gael leader and has sparked debate about whether Mr Varadkar was correct to wear the pin in the Dáil chamber.

Senator Frank Feighan, who gave Mr Varadkar the Shamrock Poppy, said this morning he believed "middle Ireland" should be able to reclaim certain symbols.

Speaking on Morning Ireland today Mr Feighan said:

"I felt that over the years we airbrushed the sacrifice of these young Irish men."

He said he previously wore a poppy into the Dáil and noted that he comes from a very Republican background. He said he felt that history needed to be "balanced".

"We are a mature and confident republic now and we are in a position now where we can reflect on the sacrifices and the commemorations of all things in Irish history."

When asked what he would say to those who were offended by the wearing of the symbol in the chamber he said:

"Over the years we maybe allowed certain symbols to be taken over by certain groups, I think middle Ireland out there have a right now to commemorate Irish men and Irish women over the many years from both sides of our traditions."

We asked Independent.ie readers if they agreed with Mr Varadkar's decision to wear the pin and a majority said they agreed with his decision.

More than 8,000 votes were cast.

A majority, 71pc, of voters said they agreed with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wearing a 'shamrock poppy' in the Dáil.

It's only controversial for the sad sad people stuck in the middle ages, we live in the 21st century, fair play to him, I'd wear it too

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 Wow 3 great uncles who at the time were nothing more than boys children going of to war.. to provide money for their family to fight a fight they barely understood to avoid starvation in country that had no food... 3 great uncles who fought for world freedom in flanders who were rejected and cast out by their own country when they returned.. no hero's welcome no recognition their own sacrifices.. belittled and snubbed.. 3 hero's as far as I'm concerned and proud of them I will always be.. shamrock poppy easter lily's they are symbols to remember to never forget they are not there to say we remain angry we must hate they are there to remind us. The poppy isn't a political weapon it's a mark of respect to the men and women who faught and sacrificed themselves for our freedom. We would all do well to remember them for without them what world would we be living now..

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The British have made it a symbol of nationalism and anyone who doesn’t wear it is considered to be anti British, especially in Northern Ireland ! Too much hurt associated with it for many in Ireland!

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Wearing the Poppy in any form shows total disrespect for ALL of those murdered by The British Army in every conflict Worldwide.

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When will people realise it's not about politics or religion. It's about the people who died in WW1 . Irish regiments served in France and Belgium as well as other countries. Get over the civil war politics and move on.

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 He is the leader of our country and leads by example as we approach the centenary of the end of the first world war it is important to have the debate so we may remember Irish men that fell and fought at the Somme pachendale Gallipoli amongst others not forgetting the regiments in the American civil war that fought on both sides with bravery and the second world war and the men of 1916 surely we can remember our fallen as they were our grandfather's granduncles and neighbours

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This is refreshing to see! At last there is respect for the Irish killed in conflict, this is progress. You cannot pick and choose your history, these Irishmen should be remembered. So much sacrifice in so many unjust conflicts - war is horrific for all sides.

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 I've been living in England for just over a year. I'm a Dub and I wear a shamrock poppy badge. I wear it as a mark of respect for our fallen Irish men, who had no choice but to fight if they wanted to feed their families. But instead of being seen as heroes they were seen as traitors. Fair play to Leo for wearing the badge in my opinion...

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Showing his true colours - he would be really happy if he could fly the Union Jack over Leinster House

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Black n tans will sleep well tonight, they have a new leader

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When asked about its significance yesterday a spokesman for the Taoiseach said:

"The Shamrock Poppy recognises Irish soldiers who fought in World War I. It was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War by the Irish branch of the Royal British Region to remember the 206,000 Irishmen that fought, 26,500 of whom died in battle."

Proceeds from the Shamrock Poppy go to Irish veterans and their families, and towards the upkeep to memorials to Irish soldiers in Ireland.

All money stays in Ireland.

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