Belfast Telegraph

Higgins awarded city freedom honour

President Michael D Higgins is to join the ranks of former US presidents, sports stars and a broadcasting legend with the freedom of his birthplace.

Members of Limerick City and County Council unanimously agreed at a special meeting to bestow the honour on the head of state who was born in the city and spent his early years growing up there.

Cathaoirleach Kevin Sheahan said the award will be conferred at an event in the Milk Market at the end of next month.

"President Higgins is renowned for cherishing and promoting our national culture in all its diversity and richness," Mr Sheahan said.

"We want to celebrate and recognise the President's unique contribution to Irish life, particularly as he is the sole patron of Limerick City of Culture.

"President Higgins will be the first recipient to receive the Freedom of Limerick under our newly merged authority and we are very much looking forward to honouring him and showcasing our distinctive cultural heritage in Limerick at the conferring event next month."

Other famous faces to have been honoured in a similar way include Eamon De Valera, John F Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Sir Terry Wogan and local people such as JP McManus and rugby great Paul O'Connell.

The Freedom of Limerick is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual by the council.

It said the honour is reserved for those who have made exceptional or unique contributions to the common good or to persons who have made outstanding contributions to the business, commercial, educational or cultural life of Limerick.

President HIggins will receive the award on September 29.

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