President Michael D Higgins is to be made a Freeman of the Borough of Clonmel, when he visits the town this Friday.
The President, who last visited the town during his successful presidential campaign, will come to Clonmel’s Town Hall, on Friday afternoon, where Labour Mayor Darren Ryan will lead the tributes.
The Freedom of the Borough is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the Borough Council.
Mayor Ryan said the occasion would be a great honour for the town, and encouraged everyone to come along to Parnell Street on Friday afternoon, where the street will be closed to traffic and Banna Chluain Meala will be entertaining the crowd in advance of the president’s arrival.
Although as president, Mr Higgins is seen to be above party politics, Mayor Ryan said he thinks the visit to Clonmel, just days after the official centenary of the foundation of the Labour party, will be significant for Mr Higgins on a personal level.
“I think it will be significant to him to be in Clonmel at this time. He is now apolitical and above political parties but he is someone who is renowned for quoting Larkin and Connolly in his speeches.
“It’s nice for someone who gave so much of his life to the Labour movement that he will be in the chamber on the centenary of the founding of the party,” the mayor said.
Mayor Ryan went on to say the visit was a great honour for the town and it would be one of the highlights of his year as mayor of Clonmel. “The fact I know him for a number of years prior to his election to the office of president, I know there is no better person to be receiving this honour, because he has been involved in so many levels of Irish society.”
It was a coincidence that the president chose this week to come to the town, as it was when he was fulfilling several appointments across the South East.
Mayor Ryan paid tribute to the council staff who have put a lot of planning in to Friday’s events.
President Higgins is due to arrive at the Town Hall at 1.30pm where he will be greeted by Mayor Ryan, Town Clerk Ger Walsh, and Town Manager Sinead Carr. They will proceed to the Council Chamber, where a fanfare from Banna Chluain Meala will announce the president and mayor’s arrival. The official Freedom ceremony will begin at 2pm and is expeted to last about 45 minutes.