The socialist republican party éirígí has criticised a number of supermarkets in Newry after the erection of stalls to promote the Royal British Legion’s “Poppy Appeal”.
The collection stalls were erected in at least two large stores, Tesco and Sainsbury’s, and this has prompted members of the public to contact the party to voice their concerns and opposition.
Commenting on the offensive pro-imperialist stalls, éirígí's Newry spokesperson Stephen Murney said “It is often falsely portrayed that the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal is simply for remembrance purposes, yet nothing could be further from the truth.
“In fact according to the Royal British Legion, the appeal supports not only former British soldiers but also serving members of the British Armed Forces. This includes the occupation forces currently garrisoned here in Ireland, those who colluded with loyalist death squads and those who have murdered countless Irish citizens including here in Newry. Not only that but it also includes British soldiers who were involved in murderous exploits in Iraq and Afghanistan in more recent times.
"Even in Britain itself, there is increased criticism of the poppy campaign which many people now view as having less to do with memorialism and more to do with support for specific British military campaigns and jingoistic enthusiasm for British involvement in war generally."
Murney continued by saying “It was only a few weeks ago our activists were among those who protested at Sainsbury’s in opposition to that stores complicity in funding Israeli genocide, murder and terrorism and now they, along with Tesco, add further insult to injury by helping to support British imperialism.
"Those who permitted these stalls on their premises would do well to spare a thought for the victims of the Britain's war machine in Ireland and elsewhere”.
The Newry representative concluded “We are formally writing to the managers of both stores to voice our opposition to the promotion of the British Armed Forces and we will be demanding that in future they refrain from promoting such offensive displays. It will be interesting to see their justification for permitting these displays."