Open-top bus planned for Harrington homecoming

ireland
Open-Top Bus Planned For Harrington Homecoming Open-Top Bus Planned For Harrington Homecoming
Kellie Harrington celebrates with her gold medal. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho
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Sarah Slater

Gold Olympic medallist Kellie Harrington is to be paraded around Portland Row on an open-top bus on Tuesday evening following her arrival home from Tokyo.

Dublin City Council has also approved the lighting of the five lamps landmark on her return and has planned, in agreement with her family, that the bus will start from Clonliffe House Pub at 5pm and drive towards Summerhill where the boxer lives.

The bus will then drive down Portland Row/Portland Place and turn onto Killarney Street, continuing up Sean McDermott Street before turning back up towards Summerhill.

Former lord mayor and north inner city Independent Christy Burke said: "Kellie will not be departing the bus at any time as she is coming back from a quarantine country and people have to remember she is a frontline medical worker.

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"Dublin City Council officials are asking people to please respect the residents of Portland Row/Portland Place. This means they do not want the area to be overcrowded.

"There is plenty of room for everyone to see Kellie...Locals, along with gardaí and council officials will be helping organise the route. The official times will be made available on dublincity.ie on Tuesday morning.”

Lamps

The local authority has responded to calls for the Portland Row lamps to be lit in gold, which are located just around from her parents home.

Cllr Burke said: "Dublin City Council have approved my proposal to light the five lamps in gold to honour Kellie Harrington. I want to acknowledge Cllr Donna Cooney for the support."

Several other city councillors have requested the council award the 31-year-old the highest honour they can bestow - the Freedom of the City.

In a statement, the council said the Lord Mayor, councillors and local authority must all be in agreement that Harrington should be given the keys to the Capital. A decision on whether she should be granted the award will not be taken until next month at the earliest.

The council said: "The award of the Freedom of the City of Dublin acknowledges the contribution of certain people to the life of our city. The Freedom of the City may be awarded at any time during the year.

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"The decision to grant any Freedom of the City is a decision for the Lord Mayor and councillors and must be confirmed at a council meeting. There is no Council Meeting in August."

Cllr Burke, who is a family friend, said there is cross-party political support in the city for Harrington to be given the freedom of the city.

"No political party seems opposed to the proposal that she be given the freedom of the city. My colleague Independent Cllr Anthony Flynn and I proposed the motion to the council on Saturday night and we’ve yet to receive a response on it.

“We also requested the same from the Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland’s office.”

In a statement the Lord Mayor’s office said: “The issue of the conferring of the Freedom of the City on Kellie Harrington is being brought to the attention of the Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland.”

Croke Park

Other councillors are also calling for Croke Park to be used in some capacity to allow for a welcoming ceremony in the coming weeks.

Cllr Cooney added: "I know due to Covid-19 restrictions we can’t have the usual celebrations, but Dubliners want to show their appreciation of this amazing young woman.

"She has lifted all our hearts and given us joy and hope in these darkened days. We as councillors will also assist Sports Minister Catherine Martin if any assistance is needed on what if any celebrations can go ahead."

The council said it is currently reviewing all contingencies in consultation with other relevant parties to ensure Harrington, her family and the local community can be supported to celebrate her achievement in a Covid-safe manner, having due regard to public health guidelines.

“Unfortunately there can be no formal civic reception on this occasion. We will make a further announcement in the coming days,” a spokesperson added.

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