Nurses awarded Freedom of Belfast at City Hall ceremony
Belfast has conferred the Freedom of the City award on nurses at a gala event at City Hall to honour the healthcare heroes.
The award was presented to the Royal College of Nursing on behalf of all nurses who work in the city during a civic ceremony in the council chamber.
Lord Mayor Arder Carson presented the RCN with a silver casket containing a scroll.
It is the highest honour a city can confer and nurses will now be in the company of previous recipients who include musician Van Morrison, Olympic athlete Dame Mary Peters and former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
Janice Smyth, director of the Royal College of Nursing, signed the Honorary Burgess Book with the Lord Mayor .
Ms Smyth said: "We recognise this is the greatest honour the council can bestow on its people. We are in the company of acclaimed poets, singer/songwriters, and Olympians.
"We are very grateful such an honour has been bestowed on nurses and we are truly humbled."
The motion was jointly proposed by Sinn Fein councilor Jim McVeigh and alliance councillor Michael Long at a meeting of the city council last December and was voted for unanimously.
It read: "Over many decades our nurses have served the citizens of Belfast without fear or favour.
"During the most difficult days of the Troubles, our nurses cared for every citizen regardless of circumstances, of religious or political belief."
Tonight we give the freedom of Belfast to nurses. They welcome us into the world, treat us when we're ill & comfort us in our hours of need— Emmet McDonoughBrown (@EmmetMcDB) May 25, 2016
Almost time! As a nurse's granddaughter honoured to host the granting of freedom of City to the nurses of Belfast. pic.twitter.com/lqPUchXh84— sarah travers (@TraversSarah) May 25, 2016