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20-11-2014

Two Irish winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2014 from the European Parliament

Blue Star programme teachers and Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann are among the 47 winners of the European Citizen's Prize 2014 of the European Parliament. Since 2008, the prize has been awarded to citizens or organisations having contributed to promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens or to facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the EU.

The winners will receive a medal of honour at separate public award ceremonies for each of the two prizewinners in Ireland. Details of location and date of these award ceremonies will be announced later, but are likely to be in January or February 2015. A representative of each prizewinner will then be invited to a joint event in Brussels on 25-26 February 2015.

Sean Kelly MEP nominated the Blue Star programme which is now in its fourth year and aims is to foster better understanding and knowledge, of Irish primary pupils, about how the European Union affects our lives. So far, the Programme is managed by European Movement Ireland, and has already involved over 350 schools and 20,000 school children across Ireland. Visit www.bluestarprogramme.ie for more. 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.

Matt Carthy MEP, Martina Anderson MEP, Liadh Ní Riada MEP and Lynn Boylan MEP nominated Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. Comhaltas is the largest group involved in the promotion of Irish traditional music and the Irish Language. It is world renowned and has members from hundreds of cultures. This non-profit group teaches music, dance and language classes through a network of branches. It provides a perfect setting for people to share their love of culture. Comhaltas branches aid understanding of different cultures and traditions for immigrants to Ireland. Comhaltas is also important for Irish emigrants, in the EU and beyond, to make friends in their new homes. Many Comhaltas branches run exchange programmes with other EU cultural organisations which assist and enhance the long-term, cross border and transnational efforts of other bodies. In 2014 Comhaltas achieved a milestone in the Peace Process in bringing the Fleadh Ceoil, all Ireland annual music competition to Derry. It was the first time in 60 years that it was held in the north of Ireland. Visit http://comhaltas.ie/about/ for more.