Below you can see a transcript of the speech delivered by the actor that played Thomas F. Meagher during the Flag Presentation Ceremony that took place on the 7th March, 2016.
My name is Thomas Francis Meagher
My father was born in Canada and returned to Ireland, where I was born, here in Waterford, in what is now the Granville Hotel.
In 1848 during the great famine, I visited France and the French people presented me with a Tricolour Flag.
‘The white in the centre signified a lasting truce between Orange and Green. I trust that beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Catholic and the Irish Protestant may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood.'
On the 7th of March 1848, I flew this Tricolour flag at 33 The Mall, Waterford, where it flew continuously day and night for a week.
On that same day a Tricolour was also raised in a procession to the historic Vinegar Hill in County Wexford.
My friend John Mitchel, an Irish Patriot said he hoped to see that flag one day waving as our national banner – if he could see us now!
I took part in the rebellion of 1848 with the Young Irelanders. I was convicted of high treason. At my trial I spoke out against the oppressive regime in Ireland at the time and called for all Irish people to stand up together to overcome it.
During my speech from the docks, I said
‘My Lord, this is our first offense, but not our last. If you will be easy on us this once, we promise, on our word of gentlemen, to try and do better next time. And next time, sure we won’t be fools to get caught’
I was sentenced to be hanged drawn and quartered!
The sentence was lessened and I was instead exiled to Australia. After 2 years, I escaped and made my way to the United States.
The American Civil War broke out in 1861. I became a Brigadier-General in the US Army 69th regiment, known as the Irish Brigade and we fought for the Union, for the ideals of freedom and equality for all people.
After the war I became acting governor of Montana and developed the first constitution of Montana a major step towards statehood.
I died in mysterious circumstances on 1st of July 1867.
I was 43 years of age.
This Tricolour is a symbol of peace and I encourage you all to take pride in and respect this flag, be active citizens and remember PPT of quote
‘a national flag is the most sacred thing a nation can possess.’