Athenry golfers call on Ireland to fly the flag

Athenry golfers are raising the flag of Ireland in defiance of Covid-19 and in solidarity with the people of Ireland, and are calling on all sports club in Ireland to follow suit.

The golf club is urging all its members to fly the Irish tricolour from their houses, apartments, and poles in their gardens, which it hopes will demonstrate hope for the future.

The idea is the brainchild of well-known GAA man and former club chairman Martin Noonan, and has been embraced by the club's members during this unprecedented health crisis that is taking place throughout the world.

Noonan says flying the flag demonstrates hope for the future, not just in Ireland, but also in Europe, and for all the Irish diaspora abroad.

"This simple, but significant action, will also show our praise and thanks to local GPs, medical staff in hospitals, and healthcare workers everywhere during a time when so many of us feel wanting in the face of this terrible threat.

"We want to make it known that we appreciate the dedicated service of food and pharmaceutical retail staff helping us to stay well and well fed, while we also acknowledge the leadership of our Government and the relevant departments in this crisis which we can witness on a daily basis."

Noonan says this action is appropriate, not just in Athenry or Galway, but throughout the whole country and for all sporting clubs and organisations.

"This initiative may have come from us in Athenry, but it is perfectly appropriate for all sporting organisations. All will have tricolours and it is a show of all sports clubs' solidarity," he says.

Having begun in Athenry Golf Club, Noonan is asking all members to spread the messages across the county, province and island "so our people, albeit at a distance, will sincerely feel the coming together in 2020, through flying the flag in the face of Covid19".

The procedure envisaged would be to put up the flag at 12 noon each day and take it down each night with "the customary respect".

Fellow club committee member Martin Boyle says it is both ironic and appropriate that it is from the fields of Athenry that this call comes to fly the flag in 2020.

"The first public flying of the tricolour was during the Great Famine in Ireland, the greatest disaster in 19th century Europe. This catastrophe resulted in one million deaths and another two million of the population emigrating. The cruelty of the times was captured in part by Pete St John in his famous ballad ‘The Fields of Athenry'."


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