Limerick lads behind famous Don’t Tell Merkel flag to bring it back to the county

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

THE “ANGELA Merkel thinks we’re at work” slogan shows no sign of flagging.

THE “ANGELA Merkel thinks we’re at work” slogan shows no sign of flagging.

After making headlines all over the world and raising over €20,000 for charity three East Limerick men hope to bring it back to the county.

But first of all Richie Tuohy, Dromkeen; Eoin O’Brien, Cappamore; Conor O’Dwyer, Pallasgreen; Eoin Cantwell, Thurles and Richie Leahy, Galway had a date with the German ambassador.

They presented Dr Eckard Lubkemeier with a T-shirt saying “Angela Merkel thinks I’m at work”.

“He had a great sense of humour and is a big football fan. He said he wouldn’t wear it in the office but he would wear it at home!” said Richie, who added that it was a bit surreal to be sitting in the German embassy sharing a few beers with his friends and the ambassador. The flag captured the imagination of the public and global media as they followed the Irish team’s efforts in the Euros.

“He was asking where the idea came from and I said we were just throwing around ideas. He said it was a great example of Irish humour. He spoke about the Irish recovery, everyone working hard, trying their best and still able to crack a joke,” said Richie.

They brought smiles to many faces despite the team’s performances on the pitch. Oscar Knox, who has Neuroblastoma, made up his own flag saying “My mam thinks I’m in bed early”.

They encouraged people to donate money to Oscar. Then last week in a live auction on 2FM a company in Barcelona - Iris - run by Oonagh McNerney, Listowel, bid €15,800 to buy the flag. Dublin nightclub Copper Face Jacks gave a further €5,000.

The money will go to Oscar and Crumlin Hospital. The flag will also be given to Oscar to keep once they have raised more money.

Richie said they had no idea they would get this kind of reaction. Before they flew to Poland they were worried if anybody would get the joke! Currently they are discussing ideas with the flag’s new owners and are talking about having a tour around the country. And if so they will definitely bring it to a few pubs in the county.

Richie says all their families are enjoying the buzz around the flag.

“They are getting good craic out of it. They want me to bring home the flag and bring it to a few local pubs as well,” said Richie.

Dr Lubkemeier said: “The Irish have a terrific sense of humour as exemplified by the flag. People in Germany thoroughly enjoyed it and even made it to the front page of Germany’s bestselling newspaper. So we all had a good laugh together thanks to these seven young Irishmen. The Irish football fans in Poland have been wonderful sporting ambassadors for their country,” said Dr Lubkemeier, who hopes Irish fans to cheer on Germany against Italy.