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Michael D Higgins gets the freedom of Cork, mentions how much Corkonians like to say 'like'

He bigged up the city for lots of other reasons too.

TO PARAPHASE ONE of its greatest citizens: All credit to the President.

Michael D Higgins was awarded the freedom of the city of Cork at a ceremony this afternoon and paid tribute to the city’s resilience, community, and good neighbourliness.

The President also took time out in his speech to mention the occasional Corkonian penchant for the word ‘like’.

The president told the audience that he could be considered a Corkonian “at a certain remove” as his mother’s family come from North Cork. His father also fought as an Intelligence Officer in the North Cork Brigade in the early years of the State.

The president flirted dangerously with controversy by comparing Cork to Dublin: he told the crowd that while Dublin’s motto translates as “Happy the city where citizens obey”, Cork’s motto – Statio Bene Fide Carinis –  is “far less deferential”.

“I suspect that if you were asking a Cork man or woman the meaning of that motto, they would certainly be able to translate directly from the Latin and would tell you this means ‘A safe harbour for ships’,” the President said.

“And then emphasising the hospitality dimension, they might also add a nonchalant and self-evident ‘like’”.

He praised the city for producing many writers and poets, “energising the cultural life of the nation”.

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“As a writer, visitor, and as a President who recognises and seeks to cherish and promote our national culture in all its diversity and richness, I want to say to you all that the Irish people have much to celebrate and be grateful for in the unique cultural heritage of Cork,” he said.

The ceremony took place at Cork City Hall with the Lord Mayor presenting him with the honour. The President followed in the footsteps of former presidents Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese and Eamon DeValera, as well as US President John F Kennedy in receiving the award.

Video: Breathtaking view of Cork as you’ve never seen it – thanks to a drone > 

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