14/09/15

An Taoiseach launches the ‘Flags for Schools’ initiative as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, is today (Monday) being joined by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, to launch the ‘Flags for Schools’ initiative. As part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme, Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Defence Forces, will present the National Flag and a copy of the proclamation to every primary school in the country.

The first ceremony is being held today in St. Patrick’s N.S. Rehins, Cornanool, Islandeady,  Castlebar, Co Mayo. This is the first in a series of ceremonies which will take place in more than 3,300 national schools across the country, including special schools, and is a major element of the State’s programme to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

Speaking at today’s event An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said:  “We are here for a very special occasion. We are here today for the very first of over three thousand events like this, as Óglaigh na hÉireann, our Defence Forces begin to present the Irish tricolour and the 1916 Proclamation to every primary and special school in the land. In being here, we are helping to remember the great sacrifice of the people who fought in 1916 and after, so that this flag could be flown by its people, and that this nation could take its place among the world’s free nations.”

Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, said: “This initiative is a great way to get young children engaged with the 1916 commemorations. Through the delivery of the National Flag to every primary school in the country, children will gain a greater understanding of the work of the Defence Forces and the importance of our National Flag, which symbolises the aspiration for peace between the different traditions on this island. I hope the thousands of ceremonies which take place across the country in the coming months will leave our schoolchildren with a positive and lasting memory from the commemorations.

Minister of Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, thanked teachers and pupils from primary and post primary schools for getting involved: “Next year’s programme of activity to engage with the events and themes around 1916 is exciting and innovative.  The response so far has been very positive and we are asking all schools to get involved – particularly in time for Proclamation Day on the 15th March next year where we will ask all schools and further and higher institutes to open their doors to the community and present the various projects which our young people have developed in relation to 1916”.

At today’s ceremony, the Flag is being presented to Conor McDonagh (Junior Infants) and Kyla McDonagh (1st Class) of Cornanool National School. The event is being attended by pupils and staff of Cornanool National School and the extended school community. It is envisaged that all national schools will have received their National Flag by Proclamation Day on 15th March 2016.

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Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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