Climate activist Greta Thunberg and environmentalist Duncan Stewart were awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin this evening.
The ceremony for the honorary award took place in Mansion House this evening at 7pm.
The Lord Mayor and Dublin City Council paid tribute to Ms Thunberg and Mr Stewart for their work in the area of environmental protection.
Ms Thunberg, who does not fly, did not attend the ceremony. Irish youth climate activists Jessica Dunne and Sumaya Ahmed spoke on her behalf.
Mr Stewart thanked the Lord Mayor for the award and said he was proud to receive the same award as Ms Thunberg.
"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," he said.
— Dublin City Council (@DubCityCouncil) June 21, 2023
Lord Mayor Caroline Conroy nominated Ms Thunberg and Mr Stewart for the Freedom of the City of Dublin earlier this month.
It's the first time the honour has gone to someone for their environmental work.
Some have criticised the award, describing it as an attempt to ‘greenwash’ Dublin and distract from the Government’s previous record on climate policies.
Councillor Nial Ring said the nomination of Thunberg by the Lord Mayor came from “the Green Party hierarchy rather from Lord Mayor Conroy herself”.
“It is, in my opinion, no coincidence that the nomination of Greta Thunberg comes a few days after the Government was slammed by the EPA,” he said.
“In the cold light of day, I believe Greta will reflect on this nomination and the fact that she is being used as headline fodder.”
The Freedom of the City of Dublin awards largely symbolic freedoms to the recipients, including the right to graze sheep on College Green and St Stephen’s Green.
Over 80 have previously received the award, including former President Eamon de Valera, housing activist Father Peter McVerry and Olympian Kellie Harrington.