Veteran journalist Charlie Bird is to be granted the Freedom of Wicklow.
Academy Award-winning actor and Wicklow resident Daniel Day Lewis became the first to be made an honorary freeman of the county in 2009 for his contributions to acting.
The 73-year-old broadcaster was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) late last year and in April climbed Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo to raise awareness of the disease as part of the Climb With Charlie fundraising drive.
Hundreds of other walks took place as a result of Mr Bird’s appeal on The Late Late Show last December to get involved. To date around €3 million has been raised for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and suicide awareness charity Pieta House.
The granting of the Freedom by the local authority was proposed by Labour councillor Paul O’Brien, the Cathaoirleach of the Wicklow Municipal District.
Cllr O’Brien said: “Well done Charlie, a much deserved award and my honour to submit this resolution. Looking forward to the ceremony.” It is understood a date is yet to be set for the awarding ceremony.
Reacting to the news to grant him the Freedom of Wicklow Mr Bird tweeted: “I have just heard that tonight Wicklow Co.Council voted unanimously to award me the freedom of Wicklow.
“I will do my best to live up to that honour. And thanks for extending the hand of friendship to me.”
I have just heard that tonight Wicklow Co.Council voted unanimously to award me the freedom of Wicklow. I will do my best to live up to that honour. And thanks for extending the hand of friendship to me.
— Charlie Bird (@charliebird49) July 4, 2022
Scores of people reacted to the news with actress Angeline Ball saying; “Congratulations Charlie..rightly deserved, while former Greystones Mayor and Labour councillor Stephen Stokes added:“Charlie Bird has given a lifetime of service to journalism and broadcasting and his campaign Climb With Charlie brought vital funds to Pieta House and the Irish Motor Neuron Disease, whilst bringing a much greater awareness.”
After recently releasing the book, Climb with Charlie, filled with photographs of the epic climb of Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo, Mr Bird now plans to do a skydive with former Ireland soccer manager Mick McCarthy.