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Friday 22 February 2019

Students learn of Ireland's impact abroad with Global Ireland talk

Beth Murphy with Irish Ambassador to Mexico, Barbara Jones who presented a UN Flag and UN Charter at the Global Ireland programme in Colaiste Bride, Enniscorthy
Beth Murphy with Irish Ambassador to Mexico, Barbara Jones who presented a UN Flag and UN Charter at the Global Ireland programme in Colaiste Bride, Enniscorthy
Aoife Codd, Julia Dziadek, Cpt. Stephen Byrne, Minister Paul Kehoe TD, Irish Ambassador to Mexico, Barbara Jones, principal Kiera O’Sullivan, Beth Murphy and Sarah O’Dowd at the Global Ireland programme visit to Colaiste Bride, Enniscorthy

Pádraig Byrne

Coláiste Bríde welcomed three very distinguished guests into the school on Thursday, after the school was the only school in County Wexford selected to take part in the 'Global Ireland' programme - a pilot programme aimed at focusing on Ireland's foreign policy and relationship with the wider world.

Students were delighted to welcome Irish Ambassador to Mexico Barbara Jones, Minister of State with special responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe and Captain of the Defence Forces, Steve Byrne. While Minister Kehoe's Enniscorthy connection is well-known, Ms Jones is both a native of Enniscorthy and a past pupil of Coláiste Bríde and it was at her request that the school had been selected to be among the first nationally to launch the Global Schools Programme.

At the ceremony, which involved all of the school's students, Principal Kiera O'Sullivan welcomed each of the guests and spoke about how the Ambassador, as a past pupil, provided some very real inspiration for the current crop of pupils. She also pointed out that, despite working all over the world, Ms Jones continues to keep in contact and is a great supporter of Coláiste Bríde.

Ms Jones spoke about her career as a diplomat representing Ireland abroad and her more recent postings as Ireland's Consul General in New York from 2014 to 2017 and her current role as the Irish Ambassador to Mexico. She described UN membership as being at the very heart of Irish foreign policy and noted our important contribution in keeping peace around the globe. She also spoke fondly of her own time at Coláiste Bríde and her pride in seeing the school it has become.

It was fortunate timing for the event for Minister Kehoe, who had just returned from a trip to Mali with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and he was able to tell the students of what he had seen there and the hard work and dedication of the Irish Defence Forces to their peacekeeping duties abroad.

Captain Byrne followed this up by talking of Ireland's sixty unbroken years of peacekeeping duties with the UN in countries such as the Congo, Chad, the Lebanon and Syria, as well as describing his own peacekeeping tours of Syria and the Lebanon.

To conclude what was a fascinating morning for both students and staff, Ambassador Jones presented the students with the United Nations flag and the UN Declaration of Human Rights for the school.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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