Obama awarded ‘Freedom of Dublin City’ despite sparking outrage

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama is photographed during a presidential portrait sitting for an official photo in the Oval Office, Dec. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Former US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle will be awarded the ‘Freedom of Dublin City’, despite the motion sparking outrage from some city councillors.


The couple will become honorary citizens of the capital and will be referred to as a ‘Freeman’ and ‘Freewoman’.


The award will allow the Obamas the right to bring goods through Dublin City gates, without paying custom duties, as well as the right to pasture sheep on common ground within city boundaries.


The award is given to those who have provided a great service to the capital. It also acknowledges important visitors, including Nelson Mandela who was a recipient of the award in 1990.


Several councillors stormed out of the meeting when the announcement was made by Lord Mayor of Dublin, Brendan Carr.


Anti-Austerity Alliance Councillor Michael O’Brien said giving the honour to the Obamas “spits on the graves of thousands of drone victims”.


After the meeting on February 6th, Mr O’Brien said: “Anticipating that a number of councillors would oppose this proposal and would seek to bring home to him some uncomfortable truths about the Obama Presidency the Lord Mayor disgracefully obtained prior agreement from the leaders of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Independent group that his proposal would take place without debate or discussion.


“On the basis of a forceful intervention from myself, and other left councillors, a vote was then taken on whether or not to have a debate and Sinn Féin contrary to the position their group leader took prior to the meeting sided with us. However on the basis of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and a number of right wing Independents combining, the debate was suppressed, and then the award for the Freedom of Dublin City for the former president was voted through.


“Throughout this fiasco I pointed out to the Lord Mayor and councillors that well over 4,000 men, women and children in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia were murdered by drones at former President Obama’s orders. Those who supported bestowing this honour on Barack Obama, spit on the graves of these victims.


“I have no regrets about creating a scene at the meeting as it had to be demonstrated there and then in honour of those victims and their families that their suffering has not been disregarded by some of us.


“Being not as reactionary as George W Bush and Donald Trump is a low criteria for meriting Freedom of the City. The prevailing blind spot in Ireland for the fact that the Democratic Party is just another political wing of US Imperialism, not fundamentally different from the Republicans, has to be challenged.


“The use of Shannon Airport by the US Military has continued uninterrupted now under the watch of successive US presidents and Irish governments. A drone missile doesn’t feel any different regardless of who sits in the White House.
“Nauseated by tonight’s spectacle myself and other left councillors walked out of the chamber in protest. The Lord Mayor and establishment parties can count on further protest on my part if the Obamas do decide to turn up to receive their ‘honour’.”

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