Sinn Féin Derry MLA Raymond McCartney has condemned what has become an annual witch hunt by sections of the media and on social media sites against footballer James McClean for his decision not to wear a poppy.
Raymond McCartney said:
“No person, in any walk of life, should be forced to wear any symbol. That includes the poppy symbol of the Royal British Legion. Neither should any offence be read into a person’s choice to wear such a symbol.
“It appears that James McClean is now the subject of an annual witch hunt because of his choice not to wear a poppy on his shirt when playing football.
“This ‘poppy bullying’ culture raises its head at this time every year. We have even seen attempts to make workplaces compulsory poppy wearing zones.
“The right of people not to feel intimidated into wearing a poppy must be recognised. That includes professional footballers.
“James McClean chose not to wear a poppy but did stand respectfully during the minute’s silence and his choice in this regard should be respected.” CRÍOCH