Wearing the shamrock poppy

 

Sir, – I am greatly heartened by the Taoiseach’s decision to wear an Irish poppy in the Dáil chamber.

It is over 20 years since my father, Paddy Harte, first wore a poppy into the Dáil. He had just returned from one of his early visits to the war graves in Flanders, where he would spearhead the construction of the Island of Ireland Memorial to the Irish of the first World War.

He had three poppies that day, and Mary Harney took one and Emmet Stagg the other. He said that many others asked for one.

In 2002 on a visit to Canada he was made aware of the Canadian poppy, at the centre of which was a maple leaf.

While there he commissioned an Irish poppy with the shamrock at the centre to be produced by the company making the Canadian poppy.

Several thousand of these poppies were sent to Ireland and distributed at memorial services for the Irish soldiers in Flanders, the Somme and in Ireland.

I hope that Leo Varadkar’s lead will inspire the wearing of an Irish poppy. It has been a long journey, and my father is justly proud to have designed an Irish poppy. I would like to think that these can now be produced in Ireland. – Yours, etc,

MARY HARTE,

Raphoe,

Co Donegal.

Sir, – Each November, Irish society is forced to endure sterile and divisive controversy concerning Armistice Day, poppy-wearing, and the commemoration of the thousands of Irish who died serving with British forces during the Great War. The Taoiseach, clearly in breach of the Oireachtas code of parliamentary standards, which bans the wearing of emblems of a political nature within parliamentary precincts, has taken to wearing a “shamrock poppy” in the Dáil.

Leo Varadkar cannot be unaware of the symbolism of the poppy here in Ireland which has a political subtext, functioning not just as a symbol of remembrance but as a veiled propagandist attack on separatist Irish nationhood. I wonder will Mr Varadkar, who is wearing the poppy to honour those Irish who gave their lives fighting for the freedoms of small nations in the Great War, wear an Easter lily to honour those Irish who gave their lives fighting for the freedom of this small nation at the same time? – Yours, etc,

TOM COOPER,

Templeogue,

Dublin 6W.

Sir, – The Taoiseach’s decision to wear the shamrock poppy was a respectful and sincere one. It should be respected. – Yours, etc,

COLM BYRNE,

Bray,

Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I know it’s well past June 16th but would it be too much of a stretch to refer to our Taoiseach’s sartorial accessory as Leo’s Bloom? – Yours, etc,

PJ MALONEY,

Clonyhague, Co Westmeath.

Sir, – If gestures, such as the Taoiseach wearing a controversial badge in the Dáil to commemorate the past deeds of some, could help reduce the poverty levels, tackle the homeless crisis, address the healthcare shambles, etc, then we all could face the future with less disquiet. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond, Sligo.

Sir, – I suggest that an appropriate name for this hybrid emblem would be the “Shampop”. – Yours, etc,

FRED FITZSIMONS,

Drumbracken,

Carrickmacross,

Co Monaghan.