Donegal County Council recently hosted three Civic Receptions but why did this happen, what is a civic reception and how are they put together?
The power to do this derives from the Local Government Act 2001.
Staff Officer in Corporate Services, Kathleen Browne has been involved in hosting the Councils Civic Receptions and as well as enjoying the occasions, she is all too aware of the importance of the occasion, for both the individual and the Council.
“Organising these events is the most enjoyable aspect of my job and they have presented me with some unusual challenges – figuring out how to fit a baby grand piano into the back of the Council Chamber remains one of the greatest achievements in my very long career with Donegal County Council,” she laughed.
She explains how a reception comes about.
“The procedure for a Civic Reception is that a councillor proposes the group or individual they wish to have honoured and the category of award they wish them to receive. This is then considered by the Corporate Policy Group and ratified at a Council meeting by all the members.
“I do everything I can to accommodate the recipients of the Civic Receptions or Freedom of the County Award because this is such a special honour for them and it is their ‘special day’,” she said.
She adds that all of these receptions are memorable days for the recipients and everyone who has received the honour is both honoured and thankful for the recognition they are receiving.
“For me, these have been the most special moments of these events. Many memorable wise words, hilarious stories and tearful reminiscences have graced the council chamber at these times. I’ve been lucky enough to witness them and even get to listen to a song or two!
“It is the modesty and humanity of all the recipients that has endured with me and every one of them are a wonderful example to all of us of how persistence, endurance and the nurturing of talent can overcome every obstacle and ultimately lead to success.”
She adds that these receptions are rarely just about the individual; they are a tribute to their family, friends and community.
“Every recipient has acknowledged the support from family, friends and the people of their local area, whose influence and guidance started them on the path to the pinnacle of their chosen profession.
“In these difficult times for the people of this county, it is so important to be able to recognise our brightest and best sons and daughters and to garner hope for our future from our pride in their successes,” she said.
There are different three Award Categories.
- Category 1: Freedom of the County is the highest honour a local authority can confer and is only conferred in exceptional circumstances.
- Category 2: Civic Reception by the Full Council is a major honour and is awarded to groups or individuals who have achieved success nationally or internationally
- Category 3: Local Civic Reception by a Municipal Authority is hosted for groups or individuals who local members wish to recognise for effort or achievement
- Donegal County Council has awarded six Freedom of the County Awards since 2001:Shay Given, Packie Bonner, Phil Coulter, 28th Battalion, Daniel O Donnell and Patsy McGonagle.
- Recipients are presented with a scroll and a specially commissioned award and their names are entered onto the roll of persons so honoured for the county.