It has to come to our attention a Facebook Post by ourselves, critical of mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor and his wearing of the Poppy, has met a strong reaction from the Dublin man. Conor seems to have a false perception of what the Poppy represents in the present day and his crass response to the criticism will no doubt be seen as insensitive, especially to a lot of his fellow countrymen and women in the northern part of his country, who have been victims of those the Poppy commemorates and helps fundraise for.
The Poppy in a modern context is produced exclusively by the Royal British Legion and a brief glance at their website illuminates clearly its purpose in present times. As the RBL state themselves, it is to honour all current and past British Army servicemen and women in all conflicts from WWI onwards; which includes their colonial escapades in India, Palestine, Kenya and, of course, Ireland. Included in the same are the murderous Parachute Regiment and their killings of Irish people on Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy Massacre.
The Poppy, especially its wearing in Ireland, should be taken in its entirety. It can’t be sugar coated with the constant citing of World Wars. Unfortunately it has been misused by the British establishment as a symbol to justify past conquests and their modern-day imperialist wars – all the while raising money for soldiers, many of whom have terrorised the nationalist people in our own country.
We understand Conor is not a politician but if one is to proclaim his patriotism he should at least take into account the feelings of many in six counties of his country, who lived under the boot of the army he offered support to, consciously or not, when wearing the Poppy. We hope Conor will take on board constructive criticism on the matter and accept the legitimate reasons why many find the symbol in its entirety offensive.
All of that said, ourselves in the Seán Heuston Society Dublin would like to wish Conor every success in the future and hope he continues to represent the country on the world stage with the skill and passion he has shown thus far.