Sinn Fein accused of snubbing Armistice events en masse

A knitted poppy
A knitted poppy

Sinn Fein have been accused of “retreating to their base” after saying its members will not take part in Armitice events which “legitimise British imperialism”.

In recent years, Sinn Fein members have often engaged in activities such as laying wreaths for the dead, but without traditional trappings such as poppies.

Ahead of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the end of World War One, the republican party said it is in “ongoing discussions in Belfast with the British Legion about how we respectfully remember those who lost their lives”.

The party’s spokesman said that in Belfast its Lord Mayor Deirdre Hargey had laid a wreath marking the Battle of the Somme this year, for example, and that in Mid Ulster District one of its councillors has organised a ‘Day of Reflection’, in December.

However, it added: “Sinn Fein will not participate in British military commemorations or events which celebrate or attempt to legitimise British imperialism.”

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said: “Sinn Féin obviously have a right to absent themselves from dignified commemorations but it’s a backward step and one which shows they are retreating to their base.

“Their Irish presidential candidate broadcast that she was prepared to wear a poppy yet this coordinated announcement shows a corporate decision to snub Armistice Day.

“This weekend we remember all who died in both wars. No one in the trenches aligned themselves by political party.

“They marched side-by-side and died side-by-side as equals in the fight for freedom. Whatever Sinn Féin’s view of our Armed Forces today, they are withholding respect from all those from right across our community who served a century ago.”