HomeNewsCall to make President Higgins a Freeman of Limerick

Call to make President Higgins a Freeman of Limerick



LABOUR Party councillor Tom Shortt is calling on Limerick City Council to award the Freedom of Limerick to President Michael D Higgins to mark the end of the 817-year-old local authority.

At a City Council protocol meeting to be held behind closed doors this Monday, Cllr Shortt will propose bestowing the honour on President Higgins as a suitable civic event to mark the council’s replacement by an amalgamated city and county local authority after next May’s local elections.

To date, eleven councillors have signed a letter to award the honour to the Limerick-born President, however a twelfth councillor must sign up so that the Freedom can go ahead.

The process which is normally conducted in secret was made public in the wake of the Mayoral elections last June. Former Fine Gael Mayor Cllr Jim Long, angry at the breakdown of a Labour/Fine Gael agreement that denied him the opportunity to be deputy mayor, suggested that he would withdraw his support.

“I believe that the mood has changed and things have moved on. I will be appealing to Cllr Long to do the right thing by the City and the Council and to maintain his support for Michael D and I will be calling on the six other councillors, all former mayors of the city, who have not signed up to date to support the initiative now,” Cllr Shortt announced.

According to Cllr Shortt, Minister Joe Costelloe, who acted as President Higgins’ director of Elections in 2011, indicated that the President will accept the honour.

“I will be urging councillors to seize the opportunity now to provide leadership in the city, to show that we can overcome pettiness, small mindedness and party divisions by uniting as a Council to bestow the highest honour that the city can award on the ninth President of Ireland and the first President born within the old boundaries of Limerick City,” he said.

The city councillor started the process to award the Freedom of the City to President Higgins in December 2011 and he believes it’s an appropriate way for the council to mark Limerick’s designation as Ireland’s first City of Culture.



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