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James McClean poppy decision: 'Stop pretending to be offended,' says SDLP leader Eastwood

 

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James McClean

James McClean

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The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over people's decision whether or not to wear the poppy.  (Brian Lawless/PA)

The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over people's decision whether or not to wear the poppy. (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

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James McClean

The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over whether or not someone chooses to wear the poppy.

Writing on Twitter on Wednesday, Colum Eastwood said that "remembrance is a personal thing".

"If you want to wear a poppy that's fine," he said.  "If you don't that's fine too. Can we all stop pretending to be offended by other people's choices."

James McClean asks for respect over poppy decision ahead of Stoke City games against Middlesbrough and Forest

His comments come amid an annual row over the symbolism of the poppy, and pressure on public figures to wear the flower.

Stoke City footballer confirmed this week he would not be wearing the Remembrance Day poppy on his shirt for the Championship club's fixtures against Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest - continuing something he has done throughout his career in England with Sunderland, Wigan, and West Brom.

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The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over people's decision whether or not to wear the poppy.  (Brian Lawless/PA)

The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over people's decision whether or not to wear the poppy. (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

The leader of the SDLP has called for people to "stop pretending to be offended" over people's decision whether or not to wear the poppy. (Brian Lawless/PA)

 

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In a statement to fans issued through Stoke City, Derry man McClean said: “I know many people won’t agree with my decision or even attempt to gain an understanding of why I don’t wear a poppy."

“I accept that but I would ask people to be respectful of the choice I have made, just as I’m respectful of people who do choose to wear a poppy.”

Writing on Twitter on Tuesday, World War Two veteran and political commentator Harry Leslie Smith wrote: 'I stand in solidarity with #jamesmcclean and his right not to wear a poppy'.

In the tweet he included a link to an article from 2013 explaining why it would be the last year he wore a poppy, instead choosing to mark Remembrance privately.


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