Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Belfast mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir under poppy day pressure

Belfast's mayor Mairtin O'Muilleoir
Belfast's mayor Mairtin O'Muilleoir

Belfast's republican Lord Mayor has been challenged by the SDLP to attend the annual Remembrance Sunday service.

Councillor Pat McCarthy issued the challenge after Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir promised to back plans to promote next month's Remembrance Day poppy appeal.

While the first citizen will support a British Legion request to illuminate City Hall in red on October 24 for the poppy appeal launch, Mr O'Muilleoir confirmed that he could still not wear the symbol of respect.

Mr O Muilleoir's words of clear refusal comes despite the fact that his great-grandfather was a British Army soldier who died in 1916 while training troops.

Mr McCarthy yesterday issued a statement welcoming Mr O Muilleoir's promise of council support "in the spirit of reconciliation and inclusiveness".

However, he challenged Mr O Mulleoir to go even further by attending the actual ceremony.

The councillor also took the opportunity to remind council members that last year's ceremony was attended by Taniste Eamon Gilmore and the SDLP leader Alasdair McDonnell.

He continued: "There are few families across the island of Ireland who were not impacted by the Great War and it is fitting to commemorate that in a dignified and appropriate way."

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