No Freedom of the City of Cork this year over complaints it is being granted too frequently

No Freedom of the City of Cork this year over complaints it is being granted too frequently
Lord Mayor of Cork Mick Finn said he will not grant the Freedom of the City Award this year. Picture David Creedon 

LORD Mayor Mick Finn has confirmed that he will not bestow the freedom of the city on anyone before his term ends.

He will be the second successive Lord Mayor to not grant the award after it was presented on five occasions from 2012.

In recent years, the frequency of the honour - the highest which can be bestowed by the office of the Lord Mayor - had been criticised heavily by some councillors who questioned if it was being handed out too often.

Speaking to The Echo, Lord Mayor Finn said he had considered a number of names but had been vocal against giving it out too often and he has now decided against it.

Mayor Finn’s predecessor Tony Fitzgerald also opted not to grant the freedom of the city during his term.

The current mayor has called on the newly elected council in June to agree on a protocol for the honour, which has been given to almost 60 people since US Congress member Patrick A.Collins in 1887.

Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara was the last recipient of the Freedom of Cork in 2017. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney
Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara was the last recipient of the Freedom of Cork in 2017. Pic Michael Mac Sweeney

More recent recipients include rugby player Ronan O’Gara (2017), Chernobyl children’s advocate Adi Roche (2016), actor Niall Tóibín (2015) and dual GAA star Seán Óg Ó hAilpín (2011).

Other notable recipients of the award include President Michael D.Higgins, Mary McAleese, Roy Keane, John Hume, Jack Lynch, Éamon de Valera and John F. Kennedy.

Calls had been made in some quarters for Penny Dinners head Caitriona Twomey to be given the honour.

Another name in the frame was concert promoter Peter Aiken, who has staged the hugely popular Live at the Marquee series for the last 15 years and brought Ed Sheeran to the city for three concerts - attracting 40,000 people at a time at Páirc Uí Chaoimh - last year.

Speaking to the Echo recently, Cork Business Association president Philip Gillivan said: “Peter Aiken has been doing this for 14 years and he deserves to be made a freeman of Cork at this stage.

“We’ve been talking about the events centre for so long but he just does his thing and never lets us down. Live at the Marquee is hugely popular for Cork,” he added.

The awarding of the freedom of the city dates back to the 14th century.

However, due to the destruction of municipal documents by fire in the Courthouse in 1891 very few early municipal documents are available.

Recent acquisitions by the Cork City Library, mean a complete list of the Freemen of the City of Cork including Honorary Freemen for the period 1609-1841 is kept on record.

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