Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Poppy and Easter lily will never be compatible

In response to Tom Cooper's letter (Write Back, November 22), I can assure him that neither John McCallister nor any other member of the Ulster Unionist Party is likely to wear the Easter lily any time soon.

This is because the Easter lily does not only commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916, but it has also been used by both the Official and Provisional IRA to commemorate those who died carrying out acts of terrorism.

I am saddened to see that, even after Remembrance Day, republicans continue to try and equate the poppy and the Easter Lily. They are not the same and they will never be the same.

One commemorates those who gave their lives to defend their country in war; the other is used to glorify the memories of those who died carrying out acts of terrorism. Margaret Ritchie's decision to wear a poppy was progressive and has convinced many unionists that she is someone with whom they can work.

I hope Tom Cooper can appreciate the toxic nature of the Easter lily in the unionist psyche. I hope he and other republicans can accept and respect the special place of the Royal British Legion poppy in public life and the good work that it achieves.

Finally, I truly hope that republicans can finally accept that a terrorist campaign is not a legitimate means of political change, but rather a pointless, tragic waste of human life.

ALEXANDER REDPATH

Young Unionist universities and campaigns officer

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