President John F. Kennedy became the first foreign leader to address the Houses of the Oireachtas.

It was also the first time that television cameras had been allowed inside the Dáil chambers to film proceedings.

At Dáil Éireann, President Kennedy presents an Irish Brigade flag from the American Civil War to the Irish people. The flag was the second green colour of the fighting 69th of New York, whose motto was

The Union, Our Country and Ireland Forever.

The President says that he would now like the Irish people to have the flag in recognition of what the Irish Brigade and millions of other Irish have done for his people.

The Dáil is packed with 144 deputies, 60 senators and members of the diplomatic corps. Irish leaders spanning almost 50 years are also there, including former President Sean T. O’Kelly and W.T. Cosgrave, first president of the Executive Council.


This extract is taken from 'Welcome Mr President', a compilation of highlights from President Kennedy's visit to Ireland which was broadcast on 28 July 1963 with commentary by Pádraig Ó Raghallaigh. The event itself was broadcast live on 29 June 1963.