Irish PM Leo Varadkar hailed by Unionists for wearing poppy

Irish PM Leo Varadkar hailed by Unionists for wearing poppy

LEO Varadkar has been praised by unionists for wearing a shamrock poppy in remembrance of Irish soldiers who fought and died in World War I.

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said the Taoiseach’s recent gesture in the Dáil was an example of how reconciliation could be promoted “respectfully” between republicans and unionists.

“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,” he said.

Sir Jeffrey also praised Mr Varadkar for honouring Irishmen "of all traditions who sacrificed their lives in the First World War".

The MP added that Mr Varadkar wearing the poppy was proof that the two communities in Ireland and the North could get along “without abandoning our core values and beliefs.”

Taking to Twitter, former UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said the Irish PM was "wearing his own style of poppy in Dáil Éireann", adding: "That's leadership. #respect".

Mr Varadkar’s decision to wear the poppy on Tuesday received a mixed reception on social media.

Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said the pin remains a "divisive symbol" in Ireland.

The Taoiseach wrote on Twitter yesterday: "History is the study of the future. Almost everything has happened before.

"Let history be our guide, but let us never be its prisoner."