Protest over Wogan honour


A former Limerick city councillor has objected to Limerick's most famous broadcaster, Terry Wogan, receiving the Freedom of the City this June, due to the negative remarks he made nearly 27 years ago about Limerick and, in particular, the lack of notable females the city has produced.

Win Harrington, Clontarf Place, also questioned what Wogan had done for Limerick to deserve this honour. "The Freedom of the City is a big honour and it shouldn't be lightly given. He is Sir Terry Wogan in England, but what has he really done for Limerick? I can't understand this interest in somebody who has done nothing for Limerick," said Ms Harrington.

In May 1980 Terry Wogan told the Glasgow Herald that Limerick is "a town of spires and gossip and lots of frustrated people". He added that no one could understand how a place like Limerick created such a fine actor as Richard Harris.

"I can't think of any impressive women to come out of Limerick. But I suppose Limerick must have produced some influential nuns," he said.

Ms Harrington, who was elected to the city council in 1976, spoke out at the time in defence of the great women Limerick has produced, such as the writer Kate O'Brien, Hollywood actress Constance Smith, and the painter and sculptor, Anne Fitzgerald.

However, this week mayor of Limerick Cllr Joe Leddin has defended the city council's decision to bestow the title on the BBC broadcaster.

"I can't comment on what he did or said in 1980. We looked at the person in the totality of their life. He has always spoken very favourably of Limerick, how proud he is to be a Limerick man and promoted the city of Limerick positively," said the mayor.

Mr Leddin, who proposed the motion, said it received support from all city councillors at the time. "I am very much looking forward to the event," he said.

Terry Wogan who received this year's lifetime achievement award at Limerick's Person of the Year Awards has since spoken passionately of his Limerick roots.

"Limerick never left me; whatever it is, my identity is Limerick. I am so pleased that I am from Limerick."