Northern Ireland news

Poppy ban at Belfast International Airport

Security staff at Belfast International Airport have been told not to wear poppies beating British army and RUC insignia
Connla Young

UNIONISTS have reacted angrily after security staff at Belfast International Airport were banned from wearing poppies bearing British army and other insignia.

It is believed security staff at the airport were told in recent days that they will only be permitted to wear traditional plain poppies in the run up to Remembrance Sunday, which takes place this weekend.

It is understood that in recent weeks poppies bearing the emblem of the RUC, PSNI, Prison Service and British army regiments, including the UDR and Parachute Regiment have been worn by staff at the airport.

Security at Belfast international is handled by a firm called Wilson James.

A spokesman for the company said: “Wilson James maintains a company-wide policy which discourages accessorising uniforms generally, though we do make exceptions for our official charity partners and affiliated causes.

“We empower local management to provide additional guidance on uniformed appearance, in line with our policies and legal protections, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff is upheld at all times.”

Antrim and Newtownabbey UUP councillor Jim Montgomery has criticised the poppy decision.

“It is disgraceful that security staff are not being allowed to wear poppies with emblems that recognise and remember organisations they previously served in and protected people through,” he said.

“This decision shows a lack of respect and tolerance for the views of these people.”

Mr Mongomery added that for the company to "the safety and well-being of their staff" for their decision was "nothing but shallow".

“No consideration has been given to the negative effect on their staff’s morale through the denial of them being able to take part in an act of remembrance in an appropriate way,” he said.

SDLP councillor Thomas Burns said: “If you want to wear a poppy you can wear a poppy, there’s no problems about that.

“It’s when you get down to these wee badges and what their significance is (that issues arise)."

Belfast International Airport declined to comment.

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