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Death of Limerick mayor who made Pope freeman

TRIBUTES poured in yesterday following the death of the Irish mayor who made a Pope an honourary freeman.

Former Limerick city mayor Bobby Byrne (75) -- who conferred Pope John Paul II with the Freedom of the City in 1979 -- died yesterday at Milford Hospice surrounded by his family.

Mr Byrne (right) was mayor between 1978 and 1980 and he welcomed Pope John Paul II to Greenpark Racecourse in Patrickswell.

Mr Byrne's daughter Maria became the 814th Mayor of Limerick in 2010 -- only the fourth woman to be elected to the position. Current mayor, Cllr Jim Long, Fine Gael, said: "He mentored me, and he trained me. I am deeply saddened for his wife Helen, his two sons, and my own colleague Maria."

Irish Independent