City to be conferred on three inspirational women

by Gazette Reporter
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Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland, will confer the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin on Ailbhe Smyth, Professor Mary Aiken and Kellie Harrington.

The ceremony will take place in the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dawson Street, Dublin 2 at 8pm.

The Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council are paying tribute to Ailbhe 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.   

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland said “The Freedom of the City is the highest Civic honour Dublin City can bestow. It is a privilege for me to confer the Freedom on these three most deserving recipients, Ailbhe Smyth, Professor Mary Aiken and Kellie Harrington. 

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland is conferring the Honorary Freedom of the City of Kellie Harrington is pictured at the Mansion House in advance of this evening’s ceremony. Fennell Photography 2022

Ailbhe Smyth said, ‘I am deeply honoured and absolutely delighted to receive the Freedom of the City I love and have lived in all my life. As an activist, it’s wonderful to see our collective struggles for equality, justice and human rights being recognised and valued and so encouraging for younger generations of campaigners. A very special ‘thank you’ to Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland for tackling a historical injustice in naming not just one but three women to receive the honour, and highlighting the brilliant and varied contribution women make to civic life.”     

Professor Mary Aiken said “It is an honour to be considered in the same roll call as JFK, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa, I am equally honoured to be in the company of strong, pioneering female representatives of Irelands recent past, present and future.  However, I don’t view this as an award for personal endeavour – I am delighted that it highlights the science and work focused on creating a safer and more secure cyberspace.

Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland and Kellie Harrington are pictured at the Mansion House during this evening’s ceremony.

Kellie Harrington said “It’s such an honour to receive the freedom of the City and I am so grateful. It give me and my family a huge sense of pride and I would like to thank the Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council   on behalf of my family, my community an all who has supported me on my journey. There is not too many women on this role of honour and I am delighted to be one of three incredible women who will receive this award.”

The Freedom has previously been conferred on 83 persons ranging from Presidents to Prisoners of Conscience to people in Sports and Entertainment. The first recipient of the Freedom of the City was Isaac Butt in 1876. The most recent recipients were Jim Gavin on 18th January 2020 and Dr Tony Holohan on 19th June 2021.

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alison Gilliland is conferring the Honorary Freedom of the City of Pictured before this evening’s conferring are Sword Bearer Alan Murphy, Kellie Harrington and Mace Bearer Karl Wilson.

Ailbhe Smyth, Professor Mary Aiken and Kellie Harrington will be presented with a gift from the city of a piece of Dublin Crystal. They will also receive an inscribed scroll with beautiful calligraphy by Tom McConville.

PHOTO – Fennell Photography 2022

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