Flag day 2023 was launched at Leinster House at the annual Awards and Scholarship ceremony on Monday, 3rd October 2023 with support from ambassadors Packie Bonner, Henry Shefflin, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Sanita Puspure, Stephanie Roche and Zak Moradi.

Second level schools are invited to register for national Flag Day activities running up to 16th  March 2023 and to enter the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation Awards and Scholarships programme.

A national programme of activity to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first flying of the Irish tricolour flag by Thomas F. Meagher over 33 The Mall, Waterford on 7th March 1848 was launched at Leinster House.

Highlights in the programme will include a flag presentation to Government leaders, with students and educators from hundreds of secondary schools, in Waterford on Monday, 6th March 2023.

The aim of the Thomas F. Meagher foundation, co-founded in 2013 by Church of Ireland Reverend Michael Cavanagh and Senator Mark Daly Cathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann is to educate school children that the Irish flag.  The Foundation’s work is supported by fantastic ambassadors including Packie Bonner, Henry Shefflin, Sanita Puspure, Colm Cooper, Niamh Briggs, Zak Moradi, Stephanie Roche, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan and former chief of the Irish Defence Forces Mark Mellet, who is an Honorary Board member of the Foundation. 

As part of national Flag Day 2023, second level students throughout the country are invited to participate in a flag raising ceremony at their own schools on Flag Day, 16th March.   Flag Day resource packs, which include educational resources for teachers and students, as well as a complimentary Irish flag, will be delivered to registered schools nationwide.

Schools participating in Flag Day can also enter the Foundation Awards and Scholarships programme by submitting an entry, for example an essay, poem, song, TikTok, drawing etc. Expanding on the theme that the flag’s message of pride, respect and peace can be put into practice in modern day Ireland. The Foundation is also a proud challenge partner of Gaisce -The President’s Award. 

Reverend Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation, whose namesake wrote the first biography of Thomas Francis Meagher said:

“Thomas Francis Meagher’s intention when designing the flag was to proclaim that the nation must unite irrespective of sectarian belief. In describing the meaning of the flag, he said that the white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between the orange and the green and that Catholics and Protestants hands should clasp together in friendship and brotherhood. This lesson is even more valuable in the Ireland of today, where people of a range of beliefs may feel a similar united bond under the colours of the Irish flag. The Thomas F. Meagher foundation promotes pride in and respect for the flag and its meaning for peace in particular among young people irrespective of ethnicity, creed or gender. We are delighted to see a growing number of schools getting involved in national flag day.”

Ireland goalkeeping legend Packie Bonner said:

“I am involved in the foundation and this campaign as I believe that learning about the history of our national flag will help young adults to appreciate that peace and diversity is and always has been the key to a healthy society. In the Irish teams i played on the flag brought us and supporters together no matter where we travelled to. We had a very diverse group with different backgrounds. It was this diversity that helped us to make Ireland proud. “

Irish rowing sensation Sanita Puspure said:

 “Considering what is happening in the east, I can’t help but feel grateful for a lovely country we live in and for an opportunity to represent it and flying the Irish flag as far and high as possible, to promote it’s true meaning of peace and inclusion. “

 Vice Admiral Mark Mellet said:

 â€śIt is a privilege to join the Honorary Board of the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation. I have long admired the leadership and commitment of all those associated with the foundation.  In the final analysis there is no other symbol that better represents the sovereignty of the Irish state and her people than the tricolour”.