2012

Press Release

Tuesday, April 10th 2012

RUGBY INTERNATIONAL PAUL O’CONNELL TO RECEIVE THE FREEDOM OF LIMERICK CITY

Limerick City Council has announced that international rugby player and current Munster Rugby captain Paul O’Connell is to receive the Freedom of Limerick City.

The announcement was made this morning (Tuesday) by Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Jim Long after a unanimous decision by members of Limerick City Council following a private meeting.

The Freedom of Limerick City will be conferred on Paul O’Connell at City Hall, Limerick on Sunday, April 22nd at 2pm. The ceremony will take place outdoors (weather permitting) and members of the public will be able to view the proceedings.

Mayor Long said Paul O’Connell is a ‘terrific Ambassador for Limerick both on and off the field”.

"We want to recognise Paul’s outstanding contribution to Limerick, to Ireland and to sport," Mayor Long said.

“He is a proud Irish man, Munster man and a Limerick man. This is the highest civic accolade that Limerick City Council can give to a man who is an inspiration to all of us in all walks of life both young and old. He carries a tremendous badge of honour for Limerick and it will be my absolute pleasure to confer the Freedom of the City on such an iconic person.”

Paul O’Connell has captained the British and Irish Lions team, the Irish Rugby Union Team and is the current Munster Rugby captain. Recognised as one of the best second rows in the world, the 32 year old educated at Ard Scoil Rís is a world class lineout jumper and a forward of immense power and presence.

A former IRB World Player of the Year nominee, he was a member of Ireland’s 2009 Grand Slam winning team, winning a Heineken Cup medal with Munster in 2006 and again in 2008 when he skippered Munster to Heineken Cup glory. He also captained the Munster Rugby team to Magners League title success in 2009 and 2011.

Speaking today, Paul O’Connell said he was delighted with the ‘massive honour’ about to be bestowed on him.

“I’m always conscious when I’m playing for either Munster or Ireland that I’m also representing Limerick,” he said. “I’m very proud of Limerick and where I come from. I’m lucky to have played for Munster for the last 11 years and my upbringing in Limerick and the influences that I’ve had in Limerick has played a massive part in my success in rugby. I’d also like to thank Limerick City Council for bestowing this huge honour on me and I’m looking forward to it immensely.”

The Freedom of Limerick is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon an individual by Limerick City Council. A total of 63 Honorary Freedoms have been granted by Limerick City Council since 1877.

The Honour is reserved for those who have made exceptional or unique contributions to the common good or to persons who have made outstanding contributions to the business, commercial, education or cultural life of the City.

Previous recipients include Eamon De Valera, John F Kennedy, John Hunt, Dr Ed Walsh, Bill Clinton, JP McManus, Sir Terry Wogan and Bill Whelan.
 
ENDS

For further media information, please contact Laura Ryan, Limerick Communications Office, 88 O’Connell Street, Limerick. 061-400010 086-6042544

Last update:10/04/2012

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