Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington to be awarded Freedom of Dublin

Lord Mayor Gilliland made the announcement at Dublin City Council’s monthly meeting on Monday.
Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington to be awarded Freedom of Dublin

Sarah Slater

Olympic gold medalist Kellie Harrington is to be awarded with the Freedom of Dublin.

Harrington, who last month married her long-term partner Mandy Loughlin, won gold in last year’s Tokyo Olympics will be honoured in a ceremony within the next four weeks before the term of the current Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland ends.

Lord Mayor Gilliland made the announcement at Dublin City Council’s monthly meeting on Monday.

The 32-year-old lightweight is joined by two other women receiving the award: world leading cyber psychologist Dr Mary Aiken and Ailbhe Smyth, the founding director of UCD’s Women’s Education, Resource and Research Centre (WERRC).

Dr Aiken is a Professor of Cyberpsychology and Chair of the Department of Cyberpsychology at Capitol Technology University, Washington DC’s premier STEM University.

Alongside her role at UCD, Ailbhe Smyth is also an LGBTQ activist.

The ceremony is set to take place on June 11th in the Mansion House.

Other women who have been bestowed with the honour to date include Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who was awarded the freedom in June 1993, then Crown Princess of Japan Michiko who received the freedom in March 1985, actress Maureen Potter in June 1984 and suffragist Margaret Sandhurst in September 1889.

Former first lady of the US Michelle Obama was nominated for the freedom in 2017 for work for the education of girls around the world and on behalf of refugees, but has yet to be bestowed with the honour.

The Freedom of the City of Dublin is awarded by Dublin City Council after approving a person nominated by the Lord Mayor. Eighty-three people have been honoured under the current process introduced in 1876.

No financial or other benefits are attached to the Freedom of the City. However, it does carry significant prestige, as well as some interesting symbolic privileges and duties such as being allowed to graze sheep on city commons which include College Green and St Stephen’s Green.

Recipients of this award are referred to as a ‘Freeman’ or ‘Freewoman’ of Dublin.

The names of Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and Bob Geldof were removed from the Roll of Honorary Freedom in December 2017.

Dublin City Councillors voted to rescind their 2000 decision to bestow the Freedom on her because of her repression of her country’s Rohingya Muslims. Mr Geldof requested his name to be removed in protest over her being granted the honour.

Harrington has ruled out turning professional but has vowed to defend her Olympic title in France in 2024.

Two former lord mayors, Independent councillors Christy Burke and Niall Ring, have been calling for the Portland Row native to be awarded the highest civic honour.

Cllr Burke said: “It is only right that Kellie has finally been awarded with this honour. She truly is a role model to young and old as she works and trains so hard. Keillie is such a dignified, caring and great all-rounder. This is a great boost for her and her career.”

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