ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners Greta Thunberg and Duncan Stewart have been awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin.
Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy conferred the awards at a ceremony held at Dublin’s Mansion House last night.
Swedish environmentalist Ms Thunberg was unable to attend the event in person, instead two members of the Youth Climate Strike movement in Ireland were there to speak on her behalf.
Th 20-year-old hit the headlines earlier this week when she was arrested during an oil tanker protest in her native Sweden.
Mr Stewart, a long-term climate change activist who presented RTE’s Eco Eye series for 20 years, was there to receive his honour.
The 75-year-old, who hails from Dublin, said: “When the Lord Mayor called me and asked me would I accept a nomination for the award, I was really shocked and certainly very honoured.
“I would like to thank the Lord Mayor for what she has done, and Dublin City Council in general,” he added.
“Really I don’t deserve it, but certainly when I see Greta Thunberg also on the platform I feel very proud because I have such great admiration for her and all the incredible work she’s doing for our young generation.”
Regarding her decision to confer the honorary titles, Ms Conroy said: “I am honoured to present The Freedom of the City to Duncan Stewart and Greta Thunberg.
“This award is the highest civic honour Dublin City can bestow.
“It is a privilege for me to confer the Freedom on these two very deserving recipients, both of whom I admire greatly for their efforts to help us tackle the most pressing global problem of our time.”
Both Mr Stewart and Ms Thunberg will also be given gifts from the Lord Mayor.
Mr Stewart will be getting a sculpture titled Ready to Fly, crafted from 4,000-year-old bog oak by Irish artist Tony Downey.
Ms Thunberg will receive a nature-inspired drop pendant comprising three delicate gum nuts suspended from a hand-forged hoop by the Irish jeweller Shimara Carlow.
Prior to last night’s ceremony, which took place at the Round Room in the Mansion House, the Freedom of the City of Dublin had been conferred on 86 people, ranging from presidents to prisoners of conscience to high achievers in the worlds of sports and entertainment.
The first recipient of the Freedom of the City was the barrister and politician Isaac Butt in 1876.
In 2022 Irish academics Ailbhe Smyth and Professor Mary Aiken and boxer Kellie Harrington were given the Freedom of Dublin Cty.