Monday 16 January 2017

Flying high: Air Corps delivers the Tricolour to islands

Paul Hayes

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:30

Sgt Mark Dunne ensures a clear final approach while Lt Col Verling Donnagh holds the proclamation and national flag with airman Stephen Gleeson (right) before they deliver the Proclamation and the national flag to schools off the northwest Donegal island of Arranmore. Picture; GERRY MOONEY
Sgt Mark Dunne ensures a clear final approach while Lt Col Verling Donnagh holds the proclamation and national flag with airman Stephen Gleeson (right) before they deliver the Proclamation and the national flag to schools off the northwest Donegal island of Arranmore. Picture; GERRY MOONEY
Muireann Kavanagh waits for the Proclamation to be read. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 19.1.16
Sgt Mark Dunne has the Proclamation reflected in his visor as the Defence Forces deliver the constitution and the national flag to schools off the northwest Donegal islands of Arranmore and Tory. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Defence Forces Lt Col Verling Donnagh presents the national flag to Donal Rogers in Scoil Athphoirt on Arranmore Island off the Donegal coast. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Defence Forces Cpt Aonghus O Halmhain reads the proclamation to children on Tory island off the northwest Donegal coast with pupil Brendan Lee Rodden Tolan. Photo: Gerry Mooney

The children of Tory and Arranmore islands off the coast of Donegal rarely have visitors dropping by - but this was one special flying visit.

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The Defence Forces have been touring the country, delivering the Tricolour and a copy of the Proclamation to every national school ahead of the centenary commemorations of the Rising this Easter.

And island children are not missing out - although our inclement weather has meant they have had a long wait as previous attempts have been called off.

The Air Corps, accompanied by the Irish Independent, flew to Tory and Arranmore islands yesterday - and fog nearly scuppered the mission once again.

However, the crew were given permission to use Northern Ireland's airspace, which allowed us to fly the "long route" around Belfast to Malin Head, before reaching the islands.

First up was Arranmore, where we visited Scoil Aphóirt and Scoil Árainn Mhór - both of which have fewer than 20 pupils each. Led by Lt Colonel Ronan Verling, the Proclamation was read out to the class, before the Tricolour was presented to the school.

Then it was off to Tory, where we visited Scoil Náisiúnta, which has just nine pupils. All of the children said they knew of the Rising, but one little boy from Scoil Náisiúnta summed it up best, saying: "It was a big fight in Dublin between the Rebels and the British."

Irish Independent

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