Wednesday 28 June 2017

Let's honour our own best citizens -- in our own way

The idea of a presidential award system has been around for a while and it's time we finally act on it, writes Celia Larkin

Bob Geldof gave a moving speech about the power of love on the last day of the Hay Festival. Photo: Getty Images
Bob Geldof gave a moving speech about the power of love on the last day of the Hay Festival. Photo: Getty Images

SIR Terry Wogan, Sir Anthony O'Reilly, Sir Bob Geldof. They do have a ring to them -- but they're only available next door.

The notion of a Sir before your name may not appeal to you (Bob Geldof doesn't use it) but its honour is recognisable. The question of a state honours system has been floating around since the Thirties. Back then, the Irish State was anxious to distinguish itself from the British system, but that was then and this is now -- and it's about time we gave consideration to a national presidential citizen award.

We have a number of privately sponsored civil awards at present. Each commendable in themselves and much cherished by those lucky enough to be recipients. The most notable is the People of the Year Awards, and as far as I'm aware, the only presidential award in place at the moment is the Gaisce President's Award scheme for young people which was piloted in 1982 and established in 1985. To obtain this award the young person needs to complete a challenge set by themselves.

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