Only surviving child of executed 1916 leader awarded the Freedom of Dublin

Fr Joseph Mallin has lived in Hong Kong since 1948

Fr Joseph Mallin, Freedom of Dublin, 1916, Hong Kong, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh

Fr Joseph Mallin, son of Michael Mallin, reads the names of some of the people that died in the Rising at a commemoration ceremony in 2006 | Image: RollingNews.ie

The only surviving child of an executed leader of the 1916 Rising has been awarded the Freedom of Dublin.

Fr Joseph Mallin was conferred with the honour by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, at a ceremony in Hong Kong.

The Jesuit priest is the son of Commandant Michael Mallin.

He has been working in Hong Kong and Macau for many years as a minister, director of a social centre, teacher and headmaster.

Mayor Ní Dhálaigh said: "The Freedom of the City is the highest Civic honour Dublin City can bestow. It is a privilege for me to confer the Freedom on Fr Joseph honouring his long life of work with the people of Hong Kong and Macau".

"I am also acknowledging his family connection to the Easter 1916 Rising as the son of Commandant Michael Mallin".

"His skills as a priest, a mentor, teacher and giver of grace have made a difference to thousands of lives".

The freedom has previously been conferred on 80 persons ranging from presidents to prisoners of conscience, to people in sports and entertainment.

Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh | Image: Flickr

The first recipient of the Freedom of the City was Isaac Butt in 1876. The most recent recipients were Brother Kevin Crowley and John Giles in 2015.

Fr Joseph was presented with a gift from the city, specially commissioned for the occasion, called 'Saoirse'.

The piece, by Ken Bolger of Slate Trophies, is the word Saoirse meaning 'Freedom' written in Ogham writing on slate from Richmond Barracks. He will also receive an inscribed scroll.

Fr Mallin was born on September 13th 1913 in Dublin - fourth child of five born to Michael and Agnes (Hickey) Mallin.

Following his ordination, he expected to remain in Ireland, but in 1948 he was sent to Hong Kong along with five other priests.

Following a four-week long boat journey from Southampton, the group travelled by rail to Canton, now Guangzhou.

By May 1949, following the advance of the communists, they were back in Hong Kong. Apart from a few years teaching in Macau, Fr Mallin has been in Hong Kong since.

Some of the ancient privileges attached to the title include the right to bring goods into Dublin through the city gates without paying customs duties, the right to pasture sheep on common ground within city boundaries and to be ready to defend the city from attack.