THE Lord Mayor of Cork has decided not to grant the freedom of the city this year.
In recent years, the honour has been issued to the likes of Ronan O’Gara, Adi Roche, Niall Tóibín and Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.
The decision taken by Cllr Tony Fitzgerald means that it is the first time that the honour has not been bestowed by a sitting Lord Mayor since 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 by some sitting councillors.
This included Fianna Fáil’s Terry Shannon, the last Lord Mayor not to issue the freedom, who claimed that the regularity of the honour undermined its importance.
It is understood that Mr Fitzgerald, whose term as Lord Mayor comes to an end on June 15, just a day after he is due to meet Prince Charles, has instead opted for a less formal celebration. Details of this are expected to be issued in the coming weeks.
Previous recipients of the Freedom of the City include Irish presidents Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese and Michael D Higgins, as well as US President John F Kennedy.
Roy Keane, Michael Flatley, Sonia O’Sullivan and Jack Lynch have also received the honour, which dates back to the 14th century.