Sligo businessman awarded Freedom of the City of London

Sligo businessman awarded Freedom of the City of London

SLIGO-BORN businessman Andy Rogers has been given the Freedom of the City of London.

The well-known Irish community leader was made a Freeman at a special ceremony held at the Guildhall before his family and well-wishers.

He joins fellow Irishmen Bob Geldof and Sir Terry Wogan, who have also been honoured with the title – which marks one of the longest surviving ceremonial traditions of the city.

Created in 1237, it originally gave members of a Guild or Livery the freedom to trade in London.

But the ‘Freedom’ was eventually modernised to incorporate people living or working in the city or those with a strong London connection.

Today it is an honour bestowed upon people of any nationality, who may be admitted either through nomination or by being presented by a Livery Company.

“A number of City Aldermen had been kind enough to nominate me and we had a lovely and personal ceremony with some of my family present,” Mr Rogers told The Irish Post this week.

“You can’t bring your sheep across the bridge anymore,” he added, “or be hung with a silken rope, but it is a nice recognition.”

A number of rights are traditionally associated with freemen— including the right to drive sheep and cattle over London Bridge; the right to use of to a silken rope if hanged and the right to carry a naked sword in public.

While sheep have occasionally been driven over London Bridge on special occasions, the rest of these privileges are now effectively symbolic.