Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach Varadkar’s shamrock pin expected to spark sales of 50,000

By Staff Reporter

As many as 50,000 'shamrock poppy' pins are expected to sell next year on the back of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's decision to wear one.

The controversial move by Mr Varadkar at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Enniskillen led to an unexpected surge in demand for the badges commemorating the First World War.

Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond said: "People across the country have taken their lead from the Taoiseach to remember those who fell."

He said plans are now being put in place to produce 50,000 pins ahead of the centenary of the war ending.

The emblem worn by the Taoiseach shows a poppy laid on top of a shamrock and was supplied by the Irish branch of the Royal British Legion.

A spokesperson for Mr Varadkar said: "It was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War by the Irish branch of the Royal British Region to remember the 206,000 Irishmen that fought, 26,500 of whom died in battle."

Proceeds from the badge go to Irish veterans and their families.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said Mr Varadkar had provided an example of how reconciliation could be promoted between the two traditions in Ireland "respectfully" and "without abandoning our core values and beliefs".

He added: "If we are to have a shared future and to promote reconciliation between our two traditions, then we must have a better sense of our shared history and commemorate it with due respect."

And former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt posted online that Mr Varadkar was "wearing his own style of poppy in Dail Eireann" adding: "That's leadership.".

Addressing his decision to wear the badge, the Taoiseach posted on Twitter: "History is the study of the future. Almost everything has happened before. Let history be our guide but let us never be its prisoner."

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