City Council in talks to award Freedom of Limerick to the late Denis Leonard

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

MOVES are afoot behind the scenes at City Hall to posthumously award the freedom of the city to the founding director of Limerick Civic Trust, the late Denis Leonard.

MOVES are afoot behind the scenes at City Hall to posthumously award the freedom of the city to the founding director of Limerick Civic Trust, the late Denis Leonard.

Councillors have declined to give any official comment on a meeting held behind closed doors on Monday at which the issue was discussed. Meetings where the freedom of the city is debated are held in camera to avoid causing offence to potential recipients.

Calls to award the late Frank McCourt and others with a posthumous Freedom of Limerick have in the past had to be rejected, some councillors have argued, as the honour cannot be bestowed on the dead.

But it is understood that a majority of councillors now favour making “a once-off exception in the case of Denis Leonard” in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Limerick life and a second protocol meeting on the matter is to take place next week to change standing orders to allow this to happen.

Sources said that some councillors pointed out legal issues with making the award posthumously and the departure from the rules. They instead favoured naming a building or street after Mr Leonard. A two-thirds majority of the 17-member Council is needed to grant the Freedom of Limerick and sources indicated that the magic number of 12 councillors has been reached in principle and a ceremony could take place in June if a formal resolution is adopted next week.