Irish difficulties with the Poppy

Discussion in 'General' started by Gerard, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. drumaneen

    drumaneen Senior Member

  2. Morning,

    The background to this question relates to last November when a professional footballer refused to wear the poppy emblem on his football shirt. The reasons for this stance were based on his upbringing in Northern Ireland and his dislike for the British Army.

    Obviously this stance upset a number of people and having lived in Ireland for a few years and still having numerous friends over there I wanted to gage their opinion. That general opinion was that the player was right to express his own freewill and opinion and why should he wear an emblem that symbolizes something they are against?

    My counter to this was that these people were allowing the North/South issue to cloud and taint a message that had nothing to do with the troubles in Ireland. My interpretation of the poppy and its origins are that it was born from world war one when poppies grew on the fields where many had fallen. On from this the poppy came to symbolize a mark of respect and remembrance for those who died giving their lives. So whilst the poppy does have a connection to any fallen soldier it's basis and strong connection is world war one and world war two. In which many Irish soldiers from the north and south died.

    So whilst I believe in free speech in my view this footballer and anyone who backs his stance is very misguided.

    I would therefore be interested to hear some experts opinion on here about this subject because I may be totally wrong?
  3. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Having an opinion that may differ from others doesn't make it wrong. It's just that, a difference of opinion.
    urqh likes this.
  4. I agree. However, I think the football player in question took a very distinct message and naively made it about something it isn't. On another level he also stoked up a lot of bad feeling in a country that is always on the verge of starting up again.
  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Merged (post#23 onwards) onto this thread.
  6. Thanks for linking the articles. Having read through the previous posts it adds weight to what I had initially thought.
  7. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    I agree with James S.

    It is an indictment on the Republic of Ireland regarding the shameful way the men and women who served in BOTH world wars have been treated – Even now there is resistance to the long overdue amnesty for servicemen from the Republic who left the Irish Forces and joined the British Forces to fight the Nazis while De Valera did nothing.

    There was a TV show called “Irishman at War” or something similar, regarding one of the many citizens of the Republic who served, in his case in the R.A.F., and the way he was shunned when he was back home.

    I have seen both the memorials James S refers to.

    The 16th Irish Division and 36th Ulster Division fought side by side at Ypres.

    I have been researching the young woman from the Irish Republic who came north to serve in WW2 and was killed when an ARP Warden.

    Only in recent weeks have I been able to have a photograph of the headstone of a man, who is buried in Dublin, but was killed at R.A.F. Ballyhalbert during WW2.

    My opinion is that if the people of the Republic of Ireland have any feelings regarding the sacrifice made by many thousands of their nationals in past, and indeed current, conflicts while serving with the British Armed Forces then they should wear a Poppy rather than be intimidated by those narrow minded, blinkered people who have no time for any opinions other than their own.
    Sheldrake likes this.
  8. Well said. And that's what angered me about the football player who took a symbol of remembrance and turned it in to something it isn't and never has been. The poppy is predominantly about the two world wars and encompasses all the fallen allied troops. To relate it to the troubles in Ireland was in my view small minded and disrespectful.

    Typically and hypocriticaly by snubbing the poppy he was actually disrespecting his own country men who had the desire to fight against a tyrant.
  9. muggins

    muggins Member

    You can't force someone into taking the same point of view, the guy had his own reasons. I don't see what criticising him achieves. Lots of people don't wear poppies without attracting comment.The times I've forgotten to put mine on or lost it somewhere.
    I think you can make too big a big deal out of what is a personal choice. Doesn't mean they are unwilling to remember the Fallen or being disrespectful. And if they don't care, there are enough who do.
    urqh and Jonathan Ball like this.
  10. His own reasons were because of the British Army in the North in the eighties and because he is pro republican. Of course people can do what they want but that doesn't mean they can't be commented on. And for me he exploited the poppy to promote something that has nothing to do with his political stance. For me that's wrong.
  11. Buffnut453

    Buffnut453 Member

    People need to get educated about the origins of the poppy. Poppies were first sold as an act of remembrance in America. Yes, AMERICA! It was an American lady, Moina Michael, who first came up with the idea of selling poppies to raise funds for struggling veterans. At a November 1918 YWCA Overseas War Secretaries' conference, she appeared with a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed 25 more to those attending. In 1920 the National American Legion adopted the poppy as their official symbol of remembrance. At that 1920 meeting, a French woman, Anna E. Guérin, was inspired by the poppy symbol and started a project to make and sell artificial poppies in France. It was her poppy sellers who first brought the artificial poppy to the UK in 1921. It was only after all these steps that the Royal British Legion adopted the poppy as its official symbol.

    The poppy is also worn extensively in the British Commonwealth, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. The American Legion still sells poppies, typically on Memorial Day.

    Hope this is enlightening for those who take a parochial view of Britain's use of the poppy symbol.
  12. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Haig Fund poppy is more than a symbol of remembrance. The symbolism was taken and used to raise funds for disabled ex-servicemen and to give them employment in making the poppies.

    The wounded of '14-'18 are no longer with us and the majority of the current beneficiaries will have served since WW2. If one is a supporter of Irish republican terrorism then it wouldn't be logical to contribute to a charity that aided the victims.

    In some circles, a poppy is no more likely to be worn than a Rupert Bear lapel badge.
  13. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    His own reasons were because of the British Army in the North in the eighties and because he is pro republican. Of course people can do what they want but that doesn't mean they can't be commented on. And for me he exploited the poppy to promote something that has nothing to do with his political stance. For me that's wrong.

    I take it we are talking about the Sunderland player? At the time I thought perhaps the club were wrong to give them the option as to whether to wear it or not but to be fair to him he made a choice and never stated his reasons other people did that for him.
    People can speculate and no doubt not be too wide of the mark but he has remained silent and the only fuel to the republican cause is given with statements like these here.Sorry he`s not making a political statement its us who assume he is.

    muggins likes this.
  14. Bozerboy0585

    Bozerboy0585 Junior Member

    Just come across this thread, it would perhaps explain why Brian O'Driscoll wasn't wearing one when being interviewed during last years rugby autumn internationals
  15. So are we now saying that the poppy isn't about all those who died in world war and it evolves in to whatever anyone wants it to? If we are then that's a matter of personal choice. However, for me the poppy will always be intrinsically linked to all those who died in the two world wars. I would suggest this is the same for many people. So when someone snubs that it's going to cause offence to some. The responsible thing in this instance was for the club to not play that player that week. It removes the offence it causes and allows the player to stand by his belief.

    An interesting observation was three Argentinian players wearing the poppy on their shirt. With the recent falklands war and ongoing issues in that region a protest war rumoured. However, the club distinguished any political message by stating they could play and wear the poppy or they could be rested and not. In that sense I agree. No doubt others won't but it's all about opinion.
  16. muggins

    muggins Member

    Dearie me. Last time I looked it wasn't compulsory to wear a poppy. I am uncomfortable with the direction this thread is going....... naming Irish people who haven't, guessing why.

    Its been said on here somewhere, people choose to take offence. Well you might see it that way but I stand up and say it's not offensive to me if someone doesn't wear a poppy. There are more serious things to worry about like the chipping away of freedoms which were maintained by the veterans' actions. Chances are celebs on TV in November time who were given their poppies for interviews never plonked cash in any tin, don't give a second thought to the appeal. You can't separate the fund-raising from the poppy appeal either, and if people don't want to donate because it also benefits post-WW veterans, they don't have to.

    You can stand at a memorial or remember the Fallen, respect the Silence all the same without wearing a poppy.
  17. Bozerboy0585

    Bozerboy0585 Junior Member

    I am uncomfortable with the direction this thread is going....... naming Irish people who haven't, guessing why.

    Muggins I named O'Driscoll as I would have anyone, English, Scottish or Welsh when they are such a public figure appearing on National TV at a time when the wearing of the Poppy is generally ubiquitous. HE made more of a statement not wearing than I have naming him because sure as eggs is eggs the producers would have offered him one.

    A thread of this sensitivity was always going to turn in different directions and not all of them palatable to all people

  18. ww2ni

    ww2ni Senior Member

    .....And the Rupert Bear badges were produced by City of London Police Officers to fund trips to London for the Widows and Orphans of Royal Ulster Constabulary officers murdered by terrorists in the 70's and 80's
  19. Agreed. The whole point of a forum is to air your opinion. I don't see any issues with any of the comments on here. people can be offended by certain actions where as others can see it as acceptable.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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