Monthly Archives: March 2016

Change to Irish Flag Protocol to allow flag to fly at all times day and night once illuminated, in time for Proclamation Day where all schools will raise a tricolour tomorrow and the 1916 Rising Centenary Celebrations

The National Flag protocols and guidelines have been changed so that the “National Flag may now be flown by night as well as by day as long as it is properly illuminated, preferably by spotlight.”
Senator Mark Daly who is a member of the Governments All Party Consultation Group on the Decade of Commemorations chaired by the Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht worked with the Taoiseach’s Department and the Thomas F Meagher Foundation to amended the previous guidelines.
Senator Daly commented “protocol are created from precedent, the research of the history of the tricolour shows that the first time the tricolour flag was flown by Thomas F Meagher was on the 7th of Mach 1848 and it flew continuously day and night until removed by the authorities. The second occasion it was flown was from the GPO on Easter Monday 1916 and again it flew day and night until the end of the Rising. The protocols and guidelines have been changed to reflect the history and origins of the flag and allow for the flag to be flown at night once illuminated. So it is entirely appropriate to fly the flag with pride and respect at all times.”
Senator Daly succeeded in having a resolution adopting the protocols from the Department of the Taoiseach passed unanimously by the Senate. It was the first time either house of the Oireachtas formally adopted the guidelines for the National Flag
From 1916 onwards, the tricolour captured the national imagination and became enshrined in the Constitution of 1937.

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‘The Irish Flag and its significance is as important today as it was when Thomas F Meagher first raised it on the 7th of March 1848.
And when he explained its symbolism
“The white in the centre signifies a lasting truce between orange and green. I trust beneath its folds the hands of the Irish Catholics and the Irish Protestants may be clasped in generous and heroic brotherhood”

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World famous Smithsonian Museum played vital role in GPO 1916 Interpretive Centre being ready for the centenary celebrations – Senator Mark Daly

The Smithsonian Museum in Washington was among those who were consulted for the plans for the GPO for the 1916 centenary. The GPO Witness History Interpretive Centre which will open on March 29th will be an immersive exhibition allowing visitors to experience the events from an eyewitness perspective of both active participants on both sides and bystanders caught in the middle.

Senator Mark Daly, Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora and the Fianna Fáil representative on the Government’s All Party Consultation Group on the Decade of Commemorations first met with Richard Kurin of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington three years ago as there were concerns at the time that the centre in the GPO would not be ready by the centenary. The Smithsonian, comprising the national museums of the U.S. – almost all of which are national landmarks, has a long and distinguished record of the preservation and renovation of historical public buildings and were pleased to offer suggestions having reviewed Senator Daly’s plans for the GPO 1916 commemorations.

Commenting on the contribution of the Smithsonian, Senator Daly commented: “The museum was generous and helpful in writing a proposal for me about the GPO which was critical in ensuring that instead of only a foundation stone for a museum being laid on Easter Sunday 2016 as was being suggested, that a centre befitting the extraordinary events that took place there would be dedicated to the memory of our greatest generation, this has been achieved thanks to the hard work of An Post and officials”

Senator Daly was also advised on the parameters involved in making it a more suitable historical landmark. This advice was then passed on to the head of commemorations within the GPO. The current €7.8 million project aims at engaging visitors and bringing history to life through touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artefacts.

 

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Time for Irish Citizens Abroad to have vote in Presidential & Seanad Elections

Fianna Fáil is proposing to give Irish citizens living overseas the right to vote in elections for the office of President and Seanad Éireann.

The party’s Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora Senator Mark Daly is detailing the reforms.

Senator Daly says “Ireland has a huge responsibility to our citizens living in other countries and Fianna Fáil believes we must maintain strong ties with the Irish living abroad while strengthening ties with the countries and communities they live in.”

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Senator Mark Daly meets US President Obama at the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at the White House, 17th March 2014.


There are approximately 70 million people of Irish heritage living overseas as well as 1.2 million Irish-born citizens living in other countries across the world.

According to the OECD, Ireland now has the highest share of nationals living abroad in the OECD countries.  More than 17% of Irish-born persons aged 15 and over lives overseas.

Speaking as the party publishes its ‘Policy proposal for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora’, Senator Daly has said: “The global Irish footprint continues to grow and a key priority for us now is to pursue reforms that include extending voting rights to citizens living outside of the State.  Ireland is entering the era of new politics, marked by new possibilities.  We should be taking this opportunity to embrace change.

“In order to fulfil the democratic aspirations of all our people we must allow all Irish citizens the right to vote in our presidential elections including Irish citizens in the North.  There are other European examples of parliamentary representation for citizens living outside of the State and a reformed Seanad should extend the right to vote to Irish citizens abroad.  For example in Portugal where 20% of the electorate live overseas, its citizens living abroad can vote in the Assembly of the Republic elections for a set number of seats.  The French Senate also has a set number of positions for election by French nationals living outside of the state.

“If we’re serious about political reform here at home we must recognise that the global Irish community can have an important input into maintaining our democracy.  Aside from extending voting rights I believe we should examine initiatives such as the establishment of an ‘Irish Card’ which would provide benefits such as scholarships for international students and visa-free travel for business and tourism; a specific educational level travel programme to bring young people with Irish heritage to the country to experience our culture, history, and environment; and efforts to promote Irish educational institutes abroad by increasing access to third-level for passport holders and the Diaspora.

“This week countries all over the world will celebrate our national holiday.  Festivals, community events and political partnerships held around St. Patrick’s Day offer a unique opportunity for Ireland to showcase the country, our history, heritage and culture.  Not only is this important from a business perspective in promoting Ireland it is important to all Irish citizens living abroad to recognise them as a continued extension of Ireland.  Giving those citizens a say in the future direction of the country would send a strong message of inclusion, that they can still have an impact on the future of the country so many millions still call home.”

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Click here to view the 4th Edition of the Policy for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora (pdf.)

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Washington Monument to Receive Commemorative Plaque from Ireland, coordinated by Senator Mark Daly

The Washington Monument will receive a commemorative plaque from the people of Ireland in recognition of the long and enduring relationship between Ireland and the United States, the National Park Service announced on Thursday. The donation was coordinated with the National Park Service by Senator Mark Daly of the Irish Seanad Éireann, who is the Irish Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora. The plaque will be located among the 193 commemorative stones donated to honor George Washington located on the monument’s interior walls. The announcement was made on St. Patrick’s Day, the international celebration of Irish culture honoring the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
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The Plaque will be located inside the Washington Monument, the last being installed 34 years ago.

“For more than 160 years, American states, organizations and even foreign governments have honored the ideals of General George Washington with commemorative gifts to the Washington Monument,” said Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. “We are honored by this gift from the people of Ireland that continues this tradition and celebrates the shared heritage of our two nations.”
 The Washington Monument contains commemorative and memorial stones received from all 50 states; scores of fraternal and community organizations, cities and towns across America; and even 16 foreign countries. The majority of stones were received between 1849 and 1855, although the most recent new donation was accepted in 1982 (from the state of Alaska).  Memorial stones are now accepted only in very rare circumstances, such as the admission of a new state to the union or replacement of a previously donated stone. The offer of a plaque from Ireland was accepted after ensuring it met proper criteria for inclusion in the Washington Monument, and review and approval by the director of the National Park Service. The presentation of the plaque from Senator Daly is targeted for this coming May in Washington.
About National Mall and Memorial Parks
The National Park Service’s National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects, and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the Nation’s Capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation, and public enjoyment.
Press Release by Mike Litterst, mike_litterst@nps.gov, of the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington.

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Over 4,000 secondary school students receive National Flag at special State Ceremonial event in Croke On Park

On Monday 7th March the Flags for Schools programme culminated when representative groups of students and teachers from every secondary school in the country,  as well as some of our finest young athletes, received a National Flag and a copy of the Proclamation at a special ceremony in Croke Park.

President Higgins speaking at the state ceremonial flag presentation event at Croke Park 7th March 2016

The Flags for Schools initiative was first set up by Senator Mark Daly and the Thomas F. Meagher Foundation chairman Rev. Michael Cavanagh. The inaugural event of the TFM Foundation was held last year in Waterford. The initiative has since grown into a partnership with the Defense Forces and the Department of Art, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Our National Flag was first raised in Waterford in 1848 by Thomas Francis Meagher and was brought to Dublin prior to 1916 by Irish Volunteers from Waterford City. The TFM Foundation are delighted this special event could be held in Croke Park and for the ongoing support of the GAA as one of their key partners along with the FAI, Navillus and Kerry Group.

This year’s 7th of March ceremony, included a keynote address by President Michael D. Higgins, and was the first of its kind in the history of the state.  Ryan Tubridy hosted the event,  and included a formal presentation of a handmade flag to a representative of every secondary school and education centre by the Defence Forces. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, who is leading the Ireland 2016 programme, also made a special presentation of the Flag to representatives from sporting organisations. The ceremony was brought to a close with a special performance by Seo Linn.

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Speaking in advance of the ceremony Minister Humphreys said:

“Over the past five months, primary schools the length and breadth of the State have received a tricolour and a copy of the Proclamation, specially delivered by a member of the Defence Forces. The Flags for Schools programme has arguably been the most important of Ireland 2016 to date, bringing history to life for young people in an exciting and interactive way.  It has allowed our school children to reconnect with our National Flag and fully understand its peaceful message.

“I would like to thank the Defences Forces, the Department of Education and indeed all of the school teachers and principals which have made this initiative a success. Today we are teaming up with the Thomas F Meagher Foundation to complete the programme by providing a National Flag to every secondary school in the State. This is the start of what will be a very busy few weeks of commemorations, when I hope people right across the country will come together to remember our shared history, reflect on our achievements and re-imagine our shared future.”

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