Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ to be awarded Freedom of the City of Dublin by Dublin City Council
Fr. Joseph Mallin SJ is to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin. The Lord Mayor’s nomination of Fr. Joseph was warmly welcomed by all Councillors and subsequently ratified at this evening’s Dublin City Council meeting. The award of Freedom of the City of Dublin acknowledges the contribution of recipients to the life of Ireland’s capital city. It also bestows honour on important visitors to Dublin. The Freedom of the City will be awarded to Fr. Joseph on 21st March in Hong Kong.
Fr. Joseph will join an illustrious list of Freemen and Freewomen including former US presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the four members of U2, Kevin Heffernan and Aung San Suu Kyi. Brother Kevin Crowley OFM Cap and John Giles were the last people to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2015.
Ardmhéara Bhaile Átha Cliath Críona Ní Dhálaigh said, “I am honoured and privileged to propose Fr. Joseph Mallin for Dublin City’s highest award, the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin. He is the last surviving child of an executed leader of the Easter 1916 Rising and also has spent a life serving the people of Hong Kong and Macau through his ministry and teaching. Is anois tá sé i measc daoine eile a bhfuil an gradam allmhór seo.”
Fr. Joseph is the last surviving child of an executed leader of the 1916 Rising. His Father Michael Mallin was in command of the Garrisons at St. Stephen’s Green and Royal College of Surgeons and was executed in Kilmainham Gaol on 8th May 1916. Fr Joseph joined the Jesuit Order and travelled to Hong Kong and Macau where he led a very varied apostolic life, successfully doing the job of minister in the community, Mission Bursar, Director of a Social Centre, Secondary School Teacher, Headmaster of Pun Yu Primary School in Hong Kong and Principal of Ricci College in Macao. Fr. Mallin keeps in regular contact with his Irish relatives writing in a beautiful old Irish script and keeps up to date with Irish and Chinese current affairs. He last visited Ireland to celebrate his 90th birthday but now considers Hong Kong his home. He is a man of few words, but of many loving actions and has devoted his life to serving God and the people of Hong Kong and Macau. The Freedom of the City acknowledges and celebrates this work and his family’s connection to the Easter 1916 Rising which we commemorate this year.
Amongst the ancient privileges afforded to a Freeman or Freewoman is the right to bring goods into Dublin through the city gates, without paying customs duties; the right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries; and the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.
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Notes to the Editor:
History of Freedom of the City of Dublin
Following the Norman Invasion of Ireland, any chartered town or city in Ireland was entitled to admit certain of its inhabitants to the Freedom. Holders of this ancient Freedom were usually members of the Trade Guilds of the city or town in question, and their descendants. Holders of the ancient Freedom had the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections and the right to trade in the city or town in question. The Trade Guilds were abolished in 1840, but descendants of original Freemen retained the right to vote in municipal elections until the ancient Freedom was abolished under the Representation of the People Act 1918.
The Honorary Freedom was instituted under the Municipal Privileges (Ireland) Act 1876 and each city in Ireland had the right to confer it. This differed from the ancient Freedom in that it was purely honorary and there was no entitlement to vote. Under the Local Government Act 1991, Section 48 (1) it was provided that: 'A local authority may confer a civic honour on a distinguished person in such manner as it may determine including the admission of the person to the honorary freedom of its functional area and may establish and maintain a roll in which to enter the names of persons so honoured.' This had the effect of enabling any local authority in Ireland, including counties, to confer the Honorary Freedom.
Ancient Privileges & Duties of a Freeman / Freewoman
Holders of the Freedom of Dublin have a number of ancient privileges and duties not applicable to ordinary citizens, some of which have little more than symbolic meaning in the modern world.
Ancient Privileges 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 the city boundaries. This includes modern-day College Green (formerly Hoggen Green) and St. Stephen’s Green. This right was exercised by Freemen Bono and The Edge of U2 in 2000!
- The right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.
- Ancient Duties include:
- Each Freeman / Freewoman has to be ready to defend the city from attack.
- A Freeman / Freewoman can be called on to join a city militia at short notice.
- According to a law passed in 1454, any merchant who becomes a Freeman / Freewoman must possess the following items:
- A coat of mail
- A bow
- A light helmet
- A sword of his/her own
- Freemen from all the other trade guilds must have a bow, arrows and a sword. A law passed in 1465, states that each Freeman / Freewoman has to provide himself/herself with a longbow (of his own length) made of yew, witch-hazel or ash. He/she must also have twelve arrows made of the same wood.
Freemen and Freewomen of Dublin