PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins will receive the Freedom of Cork next week.
The President will receive the honour next Thursday (April 24) after Lord Mayor Cllr Catherine Clancy (Lab) formally nominated him to Cork City Council.
The vote to honour President Higgins was carried by 17 votes to nine against with two abstentions.
Those who opposed the nomination said they felt the award should instead be given to a Cork person who had made a lifelong contribution to local society.
Mr Higgins will now receive the award in keeping with Cork’s long-standing tradition of honouring Irish presidents.
Four of President Higgins’ predecessors have received the honour while in Aras an Uachtarain including Sean T O’Kelly (1947), Eamon de Valera (1973), Mary Robinson (1991) and Mary McAleese (2006).
The Freedom of Cork is the City Council’s highest award and previous recipients include President John F Kennedy, Eamon de Valera, Peter Barry, Albert Reynolds, former British Prime Minister John Major, dance star Michael Flatley and sports stars Roy Keane and Sonia O’Sullivan.
The award is given at the sole nomination of the Lord Mayor though, by tradition, the city council are asked to ratify the honour.
Cllr Clancy said the award was to recognise President Higgins’ lifelong commitment to equality and was timely given the enormous success of his State visit to the UK.
Last February President Higgins insisted on personally touring flood-damaged parts of Cork city centre to offer his support for traders and residents.