On Wednesday 7th March 2018, we can celebrate the 170th Anniversary of the first raising of our National Flag. The Tricolour was first flown here in Waterford City, at 33 The Mall, by Thomas Francis Meagher. He would go on to become a hero of the American Civil War and acting Governor of the Montana Territory.
Councillor Eddie Mulligan, Fianna Fail, is one of the founding members of the 1848 Tricolour Committee, who annual organise a flag raising commemoration, every March, on The Mall in the City. He strongly believes that businesses, civic buildings, public buildings, schools, third level education establishments and the citizens of Waterford who fly the Tricolour, should personally take ownership of the protocol associated with the Flag.
As the home of the Tricolour, Cllr Mulligan also played a significant role in the re-naming of the new River Suir crossing to the “Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge”. He is currently working on a project to have the TFM bridge illuminated, in the “Green, White and Orange” of the flag, during this 170th anniversary year.
According to Cllr Mulligan, “We, that is Waterford, should be setting the standards for the rest of Ireland to follow! Waterford must set the benchmark. With every other city, town, village and hamlet looking to our City, to see the correct values applied to flying our National Flag.”
“In 2018, marking the year of the 170th Anniversary, Waterford, the birthplace of Thomas Francis Meagher and home of the Tricolour, should take the lead. Ensuring that we extend the respect our National Flag deserves. The whole county should be following these guidelines, at every location where a Tricolour is flown. Let’s show the rest of the Country how it’s done!
Let’s give our National Flag the respect and reverence it deserves!
In 1937, Bunreacht na hEireann, the Constitution of Ireland was enacted with Article 7, formally recognising our Nation’s Flag as the Tricolour, unfurled by Meagher at 33 The Mall Waterford, as Green, White and Orange. It should also be recognised that Waterford man John Hearne, from Lombard Street, was the architect and drafter of The Constitution!
As a part of the 1916 State Centenary Commemoration Celebrations, an updated protocol on the respect to be accorded to the Tricolour was published by the Department of the Taoiseach. These protocols have been adapted by a unanimous resolution of the Seanad, on the eve of the 165th Anniversary of the first flying of the Tricolour, in the presence of the Great Great Grandson of Thomas F Meagher. It was the first time that either House of the Oireachtas formally adopted protocols for the Flag.”
Although the protocols have no statutory basis, observance of the guidelines is a matter for every individual. Cllr Mulligan worked closely with Senator Mark Daly (FF), formulating the drafting of the protocol. In the discussions, the basis for permitting the National Flag to be flown by night, once illuminated, and by day, was justified by the fact that the Irish Naval Service fly the Tricolour twenty-four hours a day, whilst on patrol at sea.
Councillor Mulligan has compiled a handout, detailing a summary of the protocols. He is asking every organisation and location flying the National Flag, to comply with the guidelines.
“Let’s give our National Flag the respect and reverence it deserves. Let Waterford be the leading example on how the Tricolour should be valued nationally, throughout the country. I will be dropping copies of the protocol summary into establishments where I see the Tricolour flying. If I miss you, then I would urge anyone who would like a copy of the guidelines to contact me directly and I will email a soft copy or post out a printed copy to you.”
A PDF of “Protocols and Guidelines for use of The National Flag” can be found by clicking this link; National Flag Protocols