Cllr Terry O’Flaherty has called for a greater involvement of schoolchildren in future Galway events held to remember Irish men and women who have died in past conflicts and on peacekeeping duties with the United Nations.
Cllr O’Flaherty said the National Day of Commemoration ceremony, held at NUI Galway on Sunday, was a moving occasion. However the Independent councillor said there was a need to encourage young people to attend.
“I think we need to make a greater effort in future years to bring more young people along to share in this special day,” she said.
The event was organised by the Galway City Council in association with the Defence Forces and included a wreath laying ceremony, music from the St Patrick’s Brass Band and tenor Frank Naughton, and also had a multi-faith element, with Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim representatives taking part.
Cllr O’Flaherty said the annual event was a moving one, commemorating those Irish people who had died in past wars and UN missions, and it was fitting that they should be remembered in such a way.
“But I think it would add to the occasion in future if we could have more young people involved,” she added.
“This year, the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, has seen a huge increase in interest in our history and young people have been finding out more than they ever have before about those who have made sacrifices for this country.
“Now is the ideal time to get them involved in this — I know schools are on summer holidays when this event is held, but that shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Maybe schools in Galway could take it in turns to organise one class every year or whatever to attend the event — it would be educational for them as well as an opportunity for the next generation to pay their due respects,” Cllr O’Flaherty suggested.