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MCS Students Change the Mind of a Government!

posted 19 Oct 2017, 14:52 by cora tighe   [ updated 19 Oct 2017, 14:58 ]

Your powerful letter writing campaign to an Taoiseach, has had a huge impact on the decision to award medals to the men of Jadotville.  Well done to all involved!  Fingal Independent's recent article is posted here.....


THE students of Malahide Community School have learned that young people working together can move mountains and that there is still power in letter writing, particularly when 1,074 letters asking for the same thing arrive on the desk of the Taoiseach.

The school’s first letter-writing campaign resulted in an invitation to meet former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny back in February and moved the outgoing Taoiseach to take the first steps to writing a 50-year-old wrong when he announced on his last day in office that the brave 155 men of the Siege of Jadotville would finally get their medals.

The Taoiseach changed and it seemed there was little movement on the awarding of those medals so earlier this month, the students from the Malahide school and their campaign partners from Galway Community College got writing again,

Some 1,074 letters from the Malahide school gave the new Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar a not so gentle reminder of the promises that were made by his predecessor and the move must have stirred something within the new leader, as four days later, it was announced that the men of Jadotville would be awarded their medals on December 2.

Just one thing remains now and it’s hoped that by the end of this month, the students’ other request that Commandant Pat Quinlan who was responsible for making every one of the men of Jadotville made it home alive would get the Medal of Honour. It has been an incredible and inspiring campaign from the students under the guidance of their teacher, Kevin Manning who has been committed to the cause since discovering the many connections the school has to the men of Jadotville. Michael Quinlan, son of Pat Quinlan has the catering contract for the school while student, Peter Boyne had a granduncle called Liam Donnelly at the siege and teacher, Brian Mcmanus’ father, was John Butch Mcmanus of Company A who played a key role in a week of resistance by the 155 men against overwhelming odds in the Congo of 1961.

Reflecting on the campaign, Kevin Manning said: ‘It’s amazing really but it’s really about the kids and what they have achieved - they really did shake up things.’

The campaign has brought two schools on opposite coasts of the country together and with Kevin Manning leading the Malahide school’s campaigning and Philip Cribbin leading the way in Galways, the two schools intend to combine on future campaigns beyond the medals for Jadotville veterans.

They are inviting everyone to take part in a new social media initiative that hopes to give young people a voice on a whole range of issues.