Local MP Carla Lockhart said, “I have spoken with the PSNI who confirmed that abuse of poppy collectors is classed as a hate crime and will be investigated.
Poppies are a symbol of remembrance for everyone. No-one should be forced to hide or should ever apologise for its display. Those who posted this video have only succeeded in displaying their own intolerance and bigotry, but they also demonstrated the importance of supporting the Poppy Appeal and of educating future generations of the reasons why we wear a poppy.”
Jonathan Buckley MLA said, “I have been speaking to the lady volunteering for the Royal British Legion to offer my support and commend her for the dignified way in which she faced the hatred and abuse directed towards her. Unfortunately it is not an isolated incident and others have faced similar issues.
Hostility towards Remembrance commemorations may be more acute in Northern Ireland but we see issues across the United Kingdom including plans to hold protests on Armistice Day and a disrespect towards what Remembrance Day represents. It is important that the voice of the vast majority of people is heard above the vocal but small minority who engage in aggression and disrespect.”
Diane Dodds MLA added, “I have no doubt this incident will only strengthen the resolve of people to support the poppy appeal and to pay respects over this Remembrance weekend. I would encourage people in particular to come to the War Memorial in Lurgan on Sunday as we pay respect to all those who gave their lives for the peace and freedom we enjoy today.”
Lurgan Councillor Peter Haire visited the stand today alongside the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Margaret Tinsley.
Cllr Haire said, “I was in the supermarket yesterday and witnessed some of the hostility directed towards the Royal British Legion stand. I am heartened however by the overwhelming response from people to the actions shown on the video and to the many people today who have visited to offer their solidarity with the poppy appeal and to contribute directly.”