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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 September 2005, 20:36 GMT 21:36 UK
Geldof gets city freedom accolade
Veteran Irish rock star Bob Geldof has been awarded the freedom of his native Dublin.

The city council voted in favour of giving him the accolade in honour of his campaign against world poverty and alleviating debt in Africa.

Bob Geldof
Geldof was behind the recent Live 8 concert

The former Boomtown Rats frontman brought together some of the world's leading names in the music business, as part of his campaign.

"If you are going to be honoured it's your home town you want more than anything else. I'm thrilled," he told RTE radio.

He was given the freedom of the city alongside Irish Olympic champion Ronnie Delaney.

Delaney won the 1,500m at the 1956 games in Melbourne - Ireland's last athletics gold medal.

The pair join an elite list of those already given the accolade, including rock group U2, Mother Teresa and former American president Bill Clinton.

Freemen of the Irish capital have the right to graze sheep on common ground within the city boundaries and Geldof could follow in the footsteps of U2 who brought lambs into St Stephen's Green when they received the honour six years ago.

"The truth is I do have 14 sheep, down in Kent in my house there, and I'll actually ship them over now to Stephen's Green and you can all bugger off. That's where they are going to live," he told RTE.

When first suggested by councillors in the Irish capital, the proposal was met with opposition from the Fianna Fail party, which was reluctant to give Geldof the award.

Global poverty

Many councillors felt Geldof, who was born in the city in 1954, had not done enough to raise its profile on an international basis.

Lord Mayor Catherine Byrne said she had proposed both Geldof and Delaney based on their "outstanding values" and said the awards were "long overdue".

Councillors voted unanimously in favour of giving them the awards.

Geldof's rock group The Boomtown Rats had such hits as I Don't Like Mondays and Rat Trap in the 70s and early 80s.

However, he became more well known for his anti-poverty stance and organised the original concert to raise money for Africa, Live Aid, in 1985.

His Commission For Africa report, which was published in March, recommended debt cancellation, increased aid and fairer trade laws.

In July, he organised the Live 8 day of concerts to highlight global poverty.

Geldof was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1986 but as an Irish citizen he is not called Sir Bob.




SEE ALSO:
Band Aid takes festive top spot
19 Dec 04 |  Entertainment
Geldof 'would consider peerage'
04 Jan 05 |  UK Politics


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