Kellie Harrington to be awarded Freedom of the City of DublinGary Ibbotson 10 May 2022
Olympic boxing gold medallist Kellie Harrington will receive the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin, Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland announced at this month’s council meeting.
Harrington, who won the gold medal in the lightweight class in Tokyo 2020, will receive the honour along with activist Ailbhe Smyth, and Professor Mary Aiken, a leading expert in cyberpsychology.
Former Dublin GAA football manager Jim Gavin, and Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan were the last people to receive the freedom of the city – in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Lord Mayor and Labour councillor Alison Gilliland said all three honourees have made “a significant contribution to our city and indeed our country.
“I am honoured and privileged to propose these three women for Dublin City’s highest award, the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin,” she said.
“I have nominated Ailbhe Smyth for her work in the areas of human rights, social justice and academia, Professor Mary Aiken for her work in the areas of cyberpsychology, online safety and security, and Kellie Harrington for her unstinting work in the community, her caring exemplar and role modelling for young people and for her sporting achievements.
“They are three inspiring women and I’m delighted to be able to acknowledge their achievements and contribution to Irish public life.”
Local Independent councillor Nial Ring, who called for Harrington to be awarded the honour after her Olympic win said he was “thrilled” she was being celebrated.
“The pure joy, pride and elation that Kellie brought to the North Inner City, and indeed the whole nation last August, prompted me to immediately contact the Lord Mayor and request she consider nominating Kellie for the honour of the Freedom of the City,” Ring says.
“Lord Mayor Gilliland responded quickly and positively as we noted at the September Central Area Committee and has now delivered on that promise.”
At the moment, only four women have received the freedom of Dublin: Margaret Sandhurst (18890, Maureen Potter (1985), Crown Princess Akihito (1984), and Mother Theresa (1993).
“Of late, sports people have featured more on the list of the 83 recipients to date, but are all men – Stephen Roche, Jack Charlton, Kevin Heffernan, Ronnie Delaney, Brian O’Driscoll, Johnny Giles and Jim Gavin,” Ring says.
“Now we will have our own Kellie Harrington, sportsperson, woman and inspiration to young people in the North Inner City and beyond on this prestigious roll of honour.
“The freedom of the city has symbolic privileges and of course duties, including defending the city when under attack – who better than a world and Olympic champion boxer to fulfil that particular duty?” Ring says.
Charles Stewart Parnell, Hugh Lane, John F. Kennedy, Eamon DeValera, Nelson Mandela, U2, Fr. Peter McVerry and Brother Kevin are other notable figures to have received the honour.
The conferral ceremony will be held on June 11 in the Round Room of the Mansion House.