An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Jordan Cummins; Tom Meagher, ancestor of Thomas Francis Meagher, Nadia Owczarek; Aishling Rochford, trustee of the Thomas F Meagher Foundation; and Jawad Dosunmu in Waterford’s SETU Arena.

Flying the flag with pride

Students from a Cork city secondary school were amongst 1,500 pupils across every county to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Irish flag at a recent event.

There was a true sense of national pride earlier this month when an Taoiseach Leo Varadkar provided the keynote address at the Thomas F Meagher Foundation’s Flag presentation ceremony in Waterford SETU Arena on 6 March.

3 students from Nagle Community College Cork in Mahon, Jordan Cummins, Nadia Owczarek and Aishling Rochford, attended the event where they got to meet the Taoiseach.

At the event, a pupil from each school was presented with an Irish tricolour, the very flag which was flown for the first time 175 years ago from 33 The Mall Waterford by Thomas F Meagher.

Speaking at the presentation, Mr Varadkar said: “To see over 1,500 students travelling from all parts of the state to celebrate the 175th anniversary of our national flag is evidence that our young people have pride in and respect for the flag’s message of peace, inclusion, and the hope of a shared future on a shared island together.”

As part of National Flag Week 2023, second level students throughout the country were invited to participate in a flag raising ceremony at their own schools on National Flag Day, 16 March.

Church of Ireland Reverend Michael Cavanagh, chairman of the Thomas Meagher Foundation said: “In 1848, Thomas Meagher intended the white panel in the centre of the Flag to symbolise a desire for peace between Irish Catholic and Irish Protestant. It is now even more important that we proclaim this message loudly on a national and world stage.”

The foundation’s work is supported by ambassadors including Packie Bonner, Henry Shefflin, Sanita Puspure, Colm Cooper, Niamh Briggs, Zak Moradi, Stephanie Roche and former Chief of the Irish Defence Forces Mark Mellet, who is an honorary board member of the foundation.