Fr Iggy O’Donovan to be awarded Freedom of Drogheda

Honour is a recognition of priest’s work with local voluntary groups

Fr Iggy O’Donovan

Augustinian priest Fr Iggy O’Donovan is to be awarded the Freedom of Drogheda at a special ceremony tomorrow.

He may be the last person to receive the award as Drogheda Borough Council is to be abolished under the Local Government Act.

Previous recipients include Pope John Paul II, Éamon de Valera and Charles Stewart Parnell.

The award to Fr O’Donovan follows a unanimous decision by the council on October 7th and is in recognition of the work he did during his 12 years in the town, particularly with local voluntary groups .


Last night, he described the award as an “enormous” honour. “The last one to get it was Pope John Paul II and he is to be canonised. But seriously, I am very moved by it.”

Last month, Fr O'Donovan transferred to the Augustinian community in Limerick following an emotional farewell Mass in Drogheda, attended by over 1,500 people.

His leaving was in the midst of controversy over his Baptism of a child which, it was claimed, was not in accordance with church rites.

Speaking last month, Fr O’Donovan said: What I want to know is why was the Baptism deemed invalid and on what grounds? I feel that my ministry was undermined.”

In 2006 Fr O'Donovan's concelebration of Easter Sunday Mass with Church of Ireland rector of Drogheda Rev Michael Graham also attracted controversy.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times