Both the Moat and St Ronan’s Primary schools were among 11 schools in Ireland honoured to receive invitations to the inauguration of President Michael D Higgins in Dublin Castle on 11th November 2018. Mr McGrath (principal of St Ronan’s) and Mrs Humphreys were contacted by the Presidential Office on Thursday evening. They were asked to bring along five pupils from each school to the event.
Both schools were intrigued as to how their Shared Education Partnership was invited to this important event and the experience will not be forgotten. The Lisnaskea schools were the only schools from Northern Ireland.
The bus carrying the pupils was just a few cars behind the presidential entourage travelling from Phoenix Park to Dublin Castle. His vehicle was preceded by lines of outriders. This was an exciting start to the visit!
President Michael D Higgins was first elected on 29 October 2011 and his first inauguration was held on 11 November 2011. He was re-elected on 26 October 2018. It was his second inauguration, to which we were invited, co-incidentally on the same date 7 years later. President Michael D Higgins will remain in office for another 7 years. The Constitution allows for a President to serve a maximum of two terms – 14 years.
At the inauguration, the Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson (a former Moat Pupil) prayed. It was lovely for the Moat Pupils to see a former pupil in such a special service.
In Dublin, the pupils waved a Presidential Flag as the President exited the ceremony. The Presidential Standard is a golden harp on a blue background. If you see this flag flying on the president’s home, it means the President is at home, similar to our Queen at Buckingham Palace in London. The pupils, along with other 10 other chosen schools, formed a guard of honour for the President’s exit from the ceremony. All pupils got to shake hands with either the President, his wide or with both.
We learned that Michael D Higgins was also a poet and writer. We learned that he was also a university lecturer in Galway and in the USA. Throughout his life he campaigned for human rights, and for the promotion of peace and democracy. He has been a member of the Irish Government for 25 years.