“The flag is a statement of intent. It holds aloft our aspiration to be a peaceful country where all traditions are respected and reconciled. It flies high to remind us we are not there yet but it is the mission of each generation to bring us nearer to permanent peace one heart at a time. Good wishes to all those involved in the Thomas Francis Meagher Foundation School’s Scholarship and Awards Programme. Our flag flies over one of the best countries in the world and, for all its man-made problems and imperfections, Thomas Francis Meagher would be proud of its noble achievements and ambitions.” - Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese
The Thomas F. Meagher Foundation aims to promote pride in and respect for the Irish flag and its true meaning for peace on this island.
The Foundation is named after Thomas Francis Meagher, Irish Patriot and US army general and Governor of Montana, who flew the first Tricolour flag on the 7th of March 1848 from 33 The Mall in Waterford at the Wolf Tone Club. The Thomas F. Meagher Foundation strives to ensure that every citizen Ireland – and in particular, every schoolchild – knows the history and meaning behind the National Flag and recognises the extraordinary life of Thomas F. Meagher.
In 2013 the Foundation presented flags which had been flown from 33 The Mall, where Thomas F. Meagher first flew the flag, to Mayors and Chairpersons from throughout Ireland for display in their council meeting chamber. Following on from the success of this event the Foundation presented almost 300 secondary schools from the state with flags which had flown from 33 The Mall on March 12th 2015. The President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins addressed the students on this occasion and on the same day dedicated the largest bridge in Ireland, the Thomas F. Meagher Bridge.
In 2016 the Foundation also ran its first flag week fundraising event, supplying lapel pins to schools who had registered to be sold for a charity or project of their choosing. Over half of the 700 second level schools in Ireland took part in this initiative raising funds for local projects and charities in Ireland. The seven winning schools who raised money for worthy causes and showed active citizenship in their community while promoting pride in and respect for the Irish flag were awarded a third level scholarship.