Press Release: Blue Star Programme teachers win major European award

Joint winners of European Citizen’s Prize

Dublin, 21 November 2014: Following their nomination by Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly, hundreds of Irish national school teachers are joint winners of the prestigious European Parliament’s European Citizen’s Prize.  The Citizen’s Prize medal is given in recognition of exceptional achievements in promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens of the Member States, or day to day activities giving concrete expression to the values entailed in the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union.

MEP Kelly, who nominated the Blue Star Programme and visited dozens of national schools involved, said “”I have seen the enthusiasm, passion and creativity of teachers and pupils, and how much joy and fun the Blue Star Programme brings to the classroom…  Ireland is Europe and our schoolchildren are using their creativity to learn about Ireland as a European country and about their fellow citizens in other European countries “.

Ms Noelle O Connell, Executive Director of European Movement Ireland, which co-ordinates the Blue Star Programme, said “We are absolutely delighted to see this fantastic acknowledgement of the hard-working and dedicated national school teachers that have participated in the Programme so far.  Nearly 20,000 pupils from every county in Ireland have taken part in the programme since its launch 2010 and this is a testament to their enthusiasm and creativity.”

Mr Francis Jacobs, Head of the European Parliament Office in Ireland said “As links between Ireland and the EU become ever closer, it is thoroughly justified that the teachers and pupils taking part in the Blue Star Programme have been awarded a European Citizen’s Prize.  The programme seeks to arouse curiosity about other EU Member States among Irish primary school pupils and to increase their knowledge of these countries, and it will stand them in great stead for the future”.

Representatives of the Blue Star Programme teachers will be awarded the 2015 European Citizen’s Prize at a public ceremony in Ireland and at one in Brussels on 25th – 26th February 2015.


Available for comment

EM Ireland’s Executive Director, Noelle O Connell, is available for interview and comment.  Contact Frances Byrne at EM Ireland, on 01 662 5815, 086 814 3297 or email

About the Blue Star Programme
The Blue Star Programme is a joint venture of the Communicating Europe Initiative, supported by the Office of the Minister of State for European Affairs in the Department of the Taoiseach, the European Commission Representation in Ireland and the European Parliament Information Office in Ireland.

The Blue Star Programme aims to introduce participants (pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community) to the EU; what it means and how it works.  The Programme also aims to foster a strong sense of awareness of the EU among its participants that reaches far beyond the school walls and out into the community.  The national co-ordinating body for the programme for the next three years is European Movement Ireland.

The objective of the Blue Star Programme, now in its fourth year, is to foster better understanding and knowledge, by Irish primary pupils, of how the European Union affects our lives.  To date, the Programme, which is managed by European Movement Ireland, has already involved over 350 schools and 20,000 school children across Ireland. for more information.

About European Movement Ireland
Founded in 1954 and marking its 60th anniversary this year, European Movement Ireland is an independent, not-for-profit, membership organisation working to make the connection between Irish people and the European Union.  Through education programmes and advocacy work, European Movement campaigns for every Irish person to get involved with the European Union and, by doing so, help shape it through reasoned, robust and informed debate.

About the European Parliament Citizen’s Prize
Every year, the European Parliament awards “The European Citizen’s Prize”.  This prize is intended to be an award for exceptional achievements in the following areas:

Activities or actions by citizens, groups, associations or organisations having displayed an outstanding commitment to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens of the Member States; or to facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the European Union. This could also include activities or actions by citizens engaged in long-term, cross-border or transnational cultural cooperation contributing to the strengthening of a European spirit. Preference is given to projects linked to the current European Year.

Day to day activities giving concrete expression to the values entailed in the Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union.

Only Members of the European Parliament have the right to submit nominations – one per Member each year.

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