Sunday 17 December 2017

A green prism of history held us for too long: now we take a wider view

By wearing a 'shamrock poppy', Leo Varadkar embraced all those who were lost to distant wars

The aftermath of the no-warning Enniskillen bomb
The aftermath of the no-warning Enniskillen bomb
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

For those of us indoctrinated with claustrophobic nationalism, seeing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar wearing the 'shamrock poppy' in Dail Eireann last week, ahead of Remembrance Sunday today, was a milestone in our maturity as a nation.

Symbols like flags and emblems are important in defining one's 'tribe', but now at last we are beginning to accept that there are many strands to the nation we've become and remembering the past is not about excluding those who took a different path.

Possibly because he is something of an outsider himself Leo Varadkar has shown that he, unlike those who came before him, is not weighed down by the heavy hand of history.

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