“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 white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green, and I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Protestant and the Irish Catholic may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.” Thomas F. Meagher
The Thomas F. Meagher Foundation was established in 2013 to promote pride in and respect for the Irish Flag and its meaning for peace, in particular among young people irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender. An ongoing focus for the Foundation is on the New Irish Communities, with an emphasis on supporting their inclusion in Irish society.
Through a number of national projects, we support second level schools in putting the symbolism of the Irish Flag into practice.
The Foundation holds an annual “Flag Day” in secondary schools on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day. The Foundation provides flag lapel pins and a fundraising pack free of charge funded by our various external supporters, which schools then sell to raise money for local or international charities or projects of their choosing. By the Foundation supplying these fundraising packs free of charge it allows the students to take complete ownership over their Flag Day activities, including choosing the worthy cause to whom they donate the money they have fundraised, we have seen this allow the students, particularly the New Irish, feel a sense of ownership and inclusion in their school and community.
Information on Flag Day can be accessed at https://tfmfoundation.ie/schools-programme/flag-day
Schools who register for Flag Day can also enter the Foundation Awards and Scholarship programme by submitting an entry; essay, poem, video, picture, drawing etc – expanding on the theme of how the flags message of Pride, Respect and Peace can be put into practice in modern-day Ireland. The Foundation awards a scholarship of one year’s third level fees and additional runner-up prizes. The annual awards ceremony is held in Leinster House and includes a tour of the Oireachtas informing the students about the work that takes place there thus encouraging all students to be aware of and eventually become part of the democratic process.
Information on the Foundation’s Awards and Scholarship Programme can be access at https://tfmfoundation.ie/schools-programme/awards-and-scholarship/criteria-2020
Since 2015 the Foundation has produced a supplement in conjunction with the Irish Independent and the History Teachers Association of Ireland which includes not only information on the history of the Flag and on the Foundations work but lesson plans to assist teachers, these are available at https://tfmfoundation.ie/teaching-resources
The Foundation was delighted to partner with the Government in 2016 to hold the second largest event in the 2016 Centenary Celebrations, where every school in the State was invited to Croke Park to learn about the History of the Irish Flag and receive an Irish Flag which had been specially flown from 33 The Mall where Thomas F. Meagher first flew the flag. Details and pictures from the Day are available at https://tfmfoundation.ie/news/173-2016-state-flag-presentation-ceremony
The Foundation also worked with the Department of the Taoiseach in updating the protocol and guidelines for the display and handling of the national flag, you can print this off HERE.
In 2018, the foundation in partnership with Shannon Heritage and the GPO Witness History Centre, installed the first ever permanent exhibition on the Irish Flag. Details on this are available HERE or from the GPO Website at https://www.gpowitnesshistory.ie/thomas-f-meagher-exhibition/.
To continue growing and developing its aims, the Foundation has linked up with Gaisce as a challenge partner to work with its extensive network of second level teachers and students throughout the State. This partnership was launched in 2018 at the Association of Principals and Deputy Principals annual conference and full details are available HERE.