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Donaldson feeding 'Poppy Bullying' Culture - Maskey

9 November, 2011 - by Alex Maskey

  Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey has accused DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson of feeding the 'Poppy Bullying' culture that raises its head at this time every year.
Alex Maskey said:
"The false allegations made against a teacher at Dundonald High School yesterday was the latest incident of Jeffrey Donaldson feeding this 'Poppy Bullying' culture in an attempt to make every workplace a compulsory Poppy wearing zone.
"The speed with which the DUP and the BBC rush to demand that employers respect the right of workers to wear a Poppy in the workplace is in stark contrast with their failure to recognise the right of workers not to feel intimidated into wearing a Poppy if they choose not to.
"There are many workplaces where individuals who would rather not display any emblems on their person are intimidated into wearing a Poppy because refusing to do so exposes them to sectarian invective, harassment and at times physical abuse. The BBC policy of not allowing presenters choosing not to wear a Poppy to appear on screen at this time of year is a prime example of this corporate 'Poppy Bullying'.
"The handling of the situation at Dundonald High School yesterday by both Jeffrey Donaldson and the BBC was an absolute disgrace. Without awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the Board of Governors which found that there was no basis whatsoever for the allegations against a teacher both Donaldson and the BBC vilified the teacher and the school demanding that they reverse a non-existing policy. It is time that individuals rights are respected and common space such as schools and workplaces where people of different religous and political opinion mix are recognised as neutral environments.

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