Belfast Telegraph

Leo Varadkar 'to continue Poppy Day tradition'

By Cate McCurry

The Republic's premier is expected to take part in a Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony in Co Fermanagh.

It is understood Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will follow in the footsteps of predecessor Enda Kenny, who made the annual trip to Enniskillen for five years.

Mr Kenny, who took part in every ceremony since 2012, always laid a wreath of green laurels alongside the many red poppies at the town's war memorial.

While a spokesman for the Taoiseach's office could not confirm his attendance, it's expected Mr Varadkar will continue the symbolic gesture.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre.

A poignant service will remember the 11 people who were killed and dozens injured in the IRA bomb. A 12th victim died 13 years later, having never woken from a coma.

The DUP confirmed that party leader Arlene Foster, who is an MLA for the area, will attend the event. She is expected to lay a wreath at the cenotaph.

Hundreds of people usually attend the remembrance service, including the families of victims killed in the bombing.

The Impartial Reporter newspaper said that Mr Varadkar had been invited to "carry on the tradition" started by Mr Kenny in taking part in the commemoration.

Royal British Legion chairman John Jones said Mr Varadkar would be very welcome.

He said: "I hope he does attend. This is the 30th anniversary, but last year was the 29th and next year will be the 31st - this is an ongoing thing.

"I feel that the Taoiseach being there shows solidarity between the two communities. It would be nice to see him there with our own politicians. I would imagine that he will accept an invitation and carry on the work of his predecessor. He will be made to feel more than welcome.

"This is a very poignant year with the 30th anniversary, but this is not a celebration, it's a remembrance. It's always about the remembrance and it's important to mark that, because over the 30 years that have passed it gets harder and harder."

Belfast Telegraph

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