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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Offaly Schools celebrate Ireland’s 50 Year Membership of the EU

Today, together with the Portuguese Ambassador, HE Bernardo Lucena and Councillor Mark Hackett, I visited schools in Cloneygowan and Edenderry to celebrate Ireland’s 50 years of EU membership

We recieved a warm welcome in Gaelscoil, Éadan Doire and met with students from third to sixth class who are actively learning about the EU, European cultures and Ireland’s membership through the Blue Star Programme which fosters learning through creativity. We were treated to some wonderful Irish music, singing and dancing and the Children were keen to learn with many questions for myself and the Ambassador.

We also visited Scoil Naomh Mhuire in Cloneygowan where the students participated in a very special initiative designed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Education and the Royal Irish Academy of Music called Ár nAmhrán, Our Anthem. They are one of 450 schools and groups who participated in live performances of the EU Anthem ‘Ode to Joy’ to celebrate Europe Day, 9th May. The students performed a magnificent vocal and instrumental rendition of Our Anthem.

It was such a pleasure to meet with children and young people to hear what Europe means to them and to answer their questions. This is my second year of similar visits and like last year I am blown away by the level of knowledge and interest in Europe’s future.

I was delighted to be joined by HE Ambassador Lucena who said;

“As Ambassador of Portugal, I am delighted to participate in Ireland’s commemoration of Europe Day, incentivising students to invest in knowledge, to make the most of the many opportunities the EU affords them, and to proactively engage with its life and institutions.
I am grateful to Minister Hackett and to the Irish Government for this kind invitation, once again involving Embassies in this engagement initiative. Bringing together young people and the EU is truly important and furthermore, this collaboration has already become a tradition.”

It was an honour to be invited to raise Scoil Mhuire’s 10th and final Green Flag also and I congratulate the students, staff and entire school body on being the first school in Offaly to achieve all 10 Green Flags - what an achievement!


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