Phil Neville and Robert Sheehan among the celebs congratulating a Portlaoise school on winning its first Amber Flag

Lynda Kiernan


Lynda Kiernan


Robert Sheehan, Ian Madigan, Zack Touhy and Teresa Mannion were among the big names congratulating the Holy Family Senior School in Laois on achieving an Amber Flag for promoting positive mental health. 

The entire school population gathered excitedly in the yard before lunch on Friday June 16, with special guest, Laois footballer Colm Begley, taking the honours for hoisting the flag, to loud cheers.

"It's great to see an attendance like this. We all know mental health is a big issue with our kids, but introducing how we care for it at a younger age, will help them down the line. For me it was a big honour," he told the Leinster Express afterwards.

Earlier the 5th and 6th class boys and girls watched an astounding array of celebrities videoing their congratulations.

As well as the above, George Hook, Bernard O'Shea, Brian Dowling, Sean O'Brien, actress Brook Vincent from Coronation Street, Minister Charlie Flanagan and many of the Laois football team sent their good wishes. 

The Amber Flag team from 5th class, co-ordinated by teachers Ellen Barry and Christine Redmond, have been working to achieve the award since last January, posting up positive posters and messages around the school, and hosting a day of fun stage performances. The young team are Anna Kelly, Luke Walsh, Daniel Corbett, Stephen Delaney, Benny Corcoran, Susie Delaney and Karl Mulligan.

"It has made a huge difference. Through talking more about mental health, they now know that everybody must look after their mental health, we really pushed the message of positivity and kindness," Ms Redmond told the Leinster Express.

It is one of the last big occasions for the Holy Family Senior School at the Borris road school, which will close on June 28, resuming in September at their new campus in Aughnaharna.