Barack and Michelle Obama to be awarded the Freedom of Dublin
Barack and Michelle Obama will be awarded the freedom of Dublin after councillors narrowly voted in favour of handing out the prestigious honour.
The former president will be given the award in recognition of his “moderating and progressive” influence on the world stage, and the former first lady for her work in improving opportunities for women and campaigning on behalf of refugees.
The Freedom of the City can be awarded to individuals who have contributed positively to the lives of those living in Dublin, to important visitors to the city, and people who have made significant changes on the world stage.
Mr and Mrs Obama were put forward for the award, and councillors voted in favour by a narrow margin, with 30 votes for and 23 against.
However, some members of the People Before Profit party were appalled at the decision and stormed out of the meeting.
An official party statement said: “People Before Profit believes that the awarding of such an honour to a President who presided over growing inequality at home, mass incarceration and deportations and ongoing wars in the Middle East is an insult to the people of Dublin City.
“Throughout his eight years in office President Obama served as the loyal representative of US imperialism and capitalism, making life for millions of Americans and many millions more abroad a living hell.”
Mr and Mrs Obama last visited Ireland in 2011, when the former president travelled to the home of his ancestors in Co Offaly.