CAMPAIGNER for the elderly Paddy O’Brien has said that getting the Freedom of Cork would be a great honour, however, he doesn’t believe it will happen.
His comments come following the launch of this years’ Over 60s Singing Competition, which was held in the Imperial Hotel on Monday.
Now in its 44th year, the event is described as “the biggest social event in Ireland for senior citizens.” It’s now been suggested that Paddy O’Brien, who has worked with the elderly for more than 50 years, should get the Freedom of Cork.
“I think it would be the greatest honour that could be bestowed on anyone but I don’t think I’ll get it,” Paddy told The Echo.
He’s received many accolades for his work with the elderly over the years, including being named Cork Person of the Year in 2011, and he said: “I welcome all these, but I’ve never set for that. Of course, it would be a great honour and a wonderful honour, to get the Freedom of the City.
“Down through the years my name has been mentioned. Regrettably, at the council meeting, I didn’t get the majority of votes. I was proposed by former Lord Mayor of Cork Tim Falvey. People were afraid that if I got the award I’d go for the elections,” he said.
However, Paddy says he’s not bitter and is looking forward to the success of this years’ Over 60s Singing Competition.
Heats are taking place in more than 20 areas across the city and county this year, with the first at St Vincent’s GAA Club on February 5. The final is due to take place at City Hall on May 24.
Paddy said the simplicity of the competition has ensured its success, and it brings families, parishes and communities together. He said it is also a wonderful social outlet for the elderly, who’s greatest social problem is loneliness.
People looking to take part can do so in any area, not just their own, and people who aren’t successful in one area can also take part elsewhere.
He’s also reminding people that proceeds from the competition go to The Irish Heart Foundation, for whom in excess of €600,000 has been raised over the years.