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Galway Community College salutes hope and honours fallen heroes


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway Community College salutes hope and honours fallen heroes Galway Community College salutes hope and honours fallen heroes


Students and staff of Galway Community College commemorated the 63rd anniversary of the Niemba and Jadotville ambush by raising the UN flag alongside their newly-created school flag at an event last week.

The design of the school flag was chosen after a competition at the college, with Leaving Cert student Ivan Mischenko from Ukraine winning with his design that “symbolises hope, peace and possibilities”, said Phillip Cribbin, a teacher at the college. Jadotville veteran and Galway native Charlie Cooley was honoured at the event with Mayor of Galway Eddie Hoare also in attendance.

In a speech at the ceremony, the Mayor highlighted the importance of celebrating both the past and the future.

“Being one of our youngest mayors to serve the city, I like to capture what’s great about our cities young people and the future, but also not to forget about the past and the contribution that Charlie made as a veteran. I think it’s poignant and quite fitting that Ivan was selected as the winner. Leaving your own country was a challenge and you were probably in hope of reaching somewhere that was peaceful, which Galway has been for you.”

The ceremony began with members of the Defence Forces raising both United Nations and Irish flags aloft, followed by the school’s new flag.

Principal of the Community College, Brian Melia, said that events such as Jadotville and Niemba show the importance of History in the school curriculum.

“It’s wonderful that we can bring people like Charlie back here to engage with young people and get them to reflect and to understand why history is so important and why it’s an embedded core part of the junior cycle. It is so important for us to know and learn about the past and to keep learning into the future.”

In 2016, a group of students from Galway Community College successfully led a campaign for medals of bravery to be awarded for military gallantry to the veterans of The Battle of Jadotville, where 26 Irish soldiers lost their lives.

David Leahy, CEO of the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) said that it was great to see young people so empowered.

“You all noticed in 2016 when you had the lecture on Jadotville here, you said we can change things for the better. That takes work, it takes effort, and it takes commitment. You have succeeded in acknowledging what has been done way back in the 1960s, before most of us were even born.”

The ceremony was concluded with a reflection read by the college’s Chaplain, Adrian McGrath, accompanied by music from PLC student Siobhán McDonagh playing the harp.

Pictured: Lt Ciaran Higgins; Mary McHugh, Galway City Partnership; Mayor of Galway Eddie Hoare; Siege of Jadotville veteran, Charlie Cooley; CEO of the GRETB, David Leahy; Philip Cribbin; History teacher and GCC International student coordinator; Junior Cert History students Kieran McDonagh and Michael Mongan and ‘Fly your Flag for GCC’ winning designer, Ivan Mischenko.

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