Freeman Sir Terry Wogan says no to red carpet

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

SIR Terry Wogan, the famous BBC broadcaster from Limerick, has accepted an invite to attend the Mayor’s Ball in the city this year – on one condition.

SIR Terry Wogan, the famous BBC broadcaster from Limerick, has accepted an invite to attend the Mayor’s Ball in the city this year – on one condition.

Mr Wogan has resisted offers to have a red carpet rolled out in his honour for the gala ball, as well as politely declining a garda motorbike escort from Shannon Airport for his arrival back to the city of his birth.

Mayor of Limerick, Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, wrote to the eminent former radio host and invited him and his wife Helen to the ball, which will coincide with the end of his year-long mayoralty. But on learning of the arrangements for the event, Sir Terry, who was made a Freeman of Limerick in 2007, wrote an email saying: “There’s no need for a police escort, I think I’m safe enough in Limerick.”

He continued: “I’m looking forward to celebrating Limerick with the mayor and thank you for your welcoming letter.” Mayor Long said it will be honour to welcome home Mr Wogan to Limerick, saying he has “never lost his down to earth Limerick upbringing”, after being brought up on the Ennis Road and educated by the Jesuits at the Crescent College. Mr Wogan, who is a director of University of Limerick Foundation Board, visited Limerick last year during the making of the documentary Wogan’s Ireland for the BBC. During the whistle-stop tour of Ireland, he visited his old home in Elm Park, just off the Ennis Road, as well as the premises of his father’s butcher shop on O’Connell Street.

When he stopped off at Colbert station during that visit, he said: “It is always refreshing to come back to Limerick. I was just in the station there, and somebody came up and asked if I could give him €25 for a train fare, so there is always the unexpected!” He said he planned to visit Limerick more often in future having given up his much loved breakfast show on Radio 2.

Proceeds from the event on Friday, May 4, in the Strand hotel will go to local charities and up to 400 people are expected to attend.