herald

Tuesday 2 September 2014

So why didn't the Taoiseach wear a poppy for Remembrance Day?

IT WAS a historic and somewhat emotive occasion.

For the first time ever, a Taoiseach travelled north to take part in a Remembrance Day ceremony.

The occasion was all the more poignant as the venue was Enniskillen where 25 years ago 12 people died when an IRA bomb exploded as families gathered to remember their war dead.

Unlike all the other dignitaries, Mr Kenny did not wear a poppy.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and President Michael D Higgins also did not wear poppies when they attended Remembrance Sunday events in Belfast and St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

A spokesman for Mr Kenny said that normal protocol when attending official ceremonies did not include the emblem.

It is official Government policy stretching back decades not to wear any commemorative symbol at official events.

A Government spokesperson told the Herald: "Government protocol for attending ceremonies at present doesn't involve the wearing of a poppy."

The Taoiseach and Tanaiste broke new ground by taking part in the Remembrance Day services in the North.

Mr Kenny laid a laurel wreath at the cenotaph in Enniskillen, close to the spot where a no-warning device killed 11 people and injured more than 63 others assembled for a Poppy Day commemoration in 1987.

Mr Kenny said: "This is part of our shared history and I wanted, and the Irish Government wanted, to be part of sharing that remembrance."

He later met some of the families affected by the bomb, which is regarded as one of the worst atrocities of The Troubles.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore laid a laurel wreath in central Belfast during an hour-long ceremony. The laurel wreaths are considered a politically neutral symbol.

President Michael D Higgins, accompanied by his wife Sabina, joined hundreds of people at a remembrance service in St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin.

hnews@herald.ie

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