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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 3°C
Peter Byrne The poppy sculpture Wave at the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester.
armistice day

Irish people are divided on whether their politicians should wear the poppy

In a survey for the Claire Byrne Show, one in five people said they didn’t know whether elected officials should wear it.

PUBLIC OPINION ON whether elected Irish politicians should wear the poppy for the centenary of the end of World War I is fairly evenly split.

In a survey for Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research, the majority of people said they shouldn’t wear the poppy (42%). A further 38% said that they should, while 20% said they didn’t know.

The exact question was: “To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, should Irish elected representatives wear a remembrance poppy?”

Poppies are worn to commemorate the dead of the First World War as they are the flowers that grew on the Western Front battlefields of France and Belgium.

About 210,000 Irish men and women served in the British forces during World War One, and around 35,000 died.

But the question of whether or not to wear a poppy can be a complicated one for Irish politicians: some have argued that its representative of the British empire and army. British veterans themselves have also suggested that the poppy’s use has become excessive.

In 2012, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore defended the decision not to wear a poppy during Remembrance Day visits to the North. Leo Varadkar made an effort to come up with a compromise last year when he sported a shamrock poppy in the Dáil.

In one of the more shocking statements of the presidential campaign, Sinn Féin’s Liadh Ní Riada caused a stir among her own party when she said she would wear a poppy on Armistice Day, as a symbol of goodwill to the unionist community, if elected president. 

The Claire Byrne Live/Amarách Research Panel consists of over 1,000 Irish adults, all aged 18+.

- with reporting from Daragh Brophy

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