Published Tuesday, 06 November 2012
Poppies are used as a symbol of remembrance. (© Getty)
Frank Feighan, TD for Roscommon/South Leitrim, said it was sad that it had taken so long for the contribution of thousands of Irish soldiers to start to be recognised.
"Thankfully, a new political dawn in this country has allowed us to move on from the divisions of the past and that is why I will walk into the Dáil wearing the poppy," he said.
Almost 250,000 Irish men fought in the First World War and around 50,000 were killed in action, while tens of thousands also fought in the Second World War and an estimated 3,600 were killed.
Poppies grew in the fields where the battles and slaughter took place - a place where many Irish men are now buried.
Frank Feighan, Fine Gael
"In my own town of Boyle, the historic King House served as a barracks for the Connaught Rangers," Mr Feighan said, speaking about the regiments who fought during the First World War.
Last week, in his capacity as chair of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly, he called for a joint British-Irish approach to First World War commemorations.
"Thankfully, over the last two decades, we have arrived at a point where the poppy is no longer a controversial symbol in this country," Mr Feighan said.
"For me, wearing the poppy in the Dáil is a symbolic gesture to not only recognise the Irish men who fought in the Great Wars, but to illustrate how the politics of engagement and not war is the only way forward in solving seemingly intractable conflicts."
Mr Feighan is the first TD to wear a poppy in the Dáil in 16 years.
© UTV News