Duncan Stewart to be first environmentalist handed Freedom of Dublin

Television personality to join JFK, Mandela and Mother Teresa in receiving city’s honour

Environmentalist Duncan Stewart is to become the first person in his field to be nominated to receive the Freedom of Dublin city.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin, Caroline Conroy, with the support of group leaders in Dublin City Council, has proposed his nomination for an honour that world leaders, humanitarians, entertainers and city heroes have previously been given.

Mr Stewart, who presented RTÉ's Eco Eye from 2002 until its discontinuation this year, is a widely recognised media personality with a career spanning decades. Cllr Conroy, of the Green Party, said he is “highly deserving of this honour”.

Speaking before making the official nomination, she said: “In fact, I can’t think of any other Irish person who has done more over such a long period of time to spread the word about environmental issues. Duncan was passionately campaigning on this topic years before it received the global attention it commands today,” the Lord Mayor added


The nomination will be made on Wednesday morning at the meeting of Dublin City Council’s Protocol Committee, before going forward for approval at the next monthly meeting on Monday.

Mr Stewart is set to become the first environmentalist to receive the honour and will join an illustrious list of Freemen and Freewomen including former US presidents John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, entertainer Maureen Potter, former Dublin football managers Kevin Heffernan and Jim Gavin, broadcaster Gay Byrne and poet Thomas Kinsella.

Boxer Kellie Harrington, feminist campaigner Ailbhe Smyth and cyberpsychologist Professor Mary Aiken were the last people to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2022.

Ancient duties of a Freeman or Freewoman include being ready to defend the city from attack and joining the city militia at short notice.

Among the ancient privileges afforded 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.