Scoil Na Maighdine Mhuire, Newmarket on Fergus, is one of only five national schools in the country to participate in the Blue Star programme and secure its EU Flag during the programme’s first five years, and today (Friday) the school celebrated that huge achievement.
Minister of Stare for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen was on hand not only raise the school’s fifth Blue Star/ EU Flag but also to present the school with a special award for reaching this prestigious milestone.
Of the five schools to have secured a flag each year since the beginning of the Blue Star project, two are from Clare – Scoil Na Maighdine Mhuire, and Fanore National School who were invited to join the celebrations in Newmarket on Fergus on Friday.
“I would like to congratulate the staff and students of Scoil Na Maighdine Mhuire on their huge achievement in securing five EU Flags. It is great credit to each and every one of them. They are among an elite group of winners – just five in the whole country and that is something you should be very proud of,” said Breen, who also presented the school with its inaugural Blue Flag in 2012.
He continued “I am not surprised at the school’s success with this project, as it has led the way in cultivating a school curriculum with a broader EU context. I would like to pay particular tribute to school principal Ann McMahon for driving this ethos in the school, and she can be particularly proud of her achievement, her staff and students today”.
“Of the five schools nationally to secure five flags, two are from Clare. I am delighted therefore to see all of the staff and pupils from Fanore here today to join in on the celebrations on the invitation of Ms McMahon,” the Fine Gael TD told all those present in Newmarket-on-Fergus.
Ms McMahon paid tribute to the staff and children of Scoil Na Maighdine Mhuire for their achievement and highlighted the importance, now more than ever, of understanding the European Movement.
“We are delighted to accept this award for our school in recognition of the fantastic work being undertaken by our school community. In this uncertain political climate in Europe, it is especially important to inform pupils about the history of the European Movement and Ireland’s role in Europe,” said Ms McMahon.
“Our pupils are the electorate and the workforce of the future. They should be equipped with the skills and information to enable them to make informed decisions. The Blue Star programme is a great starting point for that. We have successfully submitted projects since the beginning of the programme and are delighted to welcome Fanore National School here to our school today to celebrate their achievement also,” she added.
“Only five schools in the country have achieved this award and two are from Clare. But then again, this is very much in the spirit of political awareness in the Banner county which dates back for centuries,” concluded the school principal.
The Blue Star Programme is a joint venture of the Communicating Europe Initiative, supported by the Office of the Minister of State for European Affairs in the Department of the Taoiseach, the European Commission Representation in Ireland, the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland and the Department of Education and Skills.
It aims to introduce participants (pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the EU; what it means and how it works. The Programme also aims to foster a strong sense of awareness of the EU among its participants that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the community. The national co-ordinating body for the programme is European Movement Ireland.