Irish boxing’s High Performance Unit supremo Billy Walsh received the Freedom of Wexford at a special ceremony in Wexford Opera House on Sunday afternoon.
This is the highest honour that the borough can bestow on one of its citizens.
Billy’s award – an accolade which was bestowed on former U.S.A President John F. Kennedy in 1963 – comes after his achievement in guiding Ireland’s boxers to a gold, silver and two bronze medals at the London Olympic Games.
Don Stewart, Chief Executive of the IABA said : ”Billy has been a great servant to Irish boxing and deserves to take his place in a role of honour which includes, Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamonn de Valera and fellow Wexford man Brendan Corish.”
“Billy is held in the highest esteem by the boxing fraternity both here and abroad ’, Stewart concluded.
At its September Meeting, Wexford Borough Council had unanimously passed a Resolution to confer the Freedom of the Borough, the highest honour that the Council can give to its citizens, on Billy.
‘It’s not an honour we give out lightly, but he is an ordinary Wexford man who has done extraordinary things,’ Mayor Jim Allen said when announcing the award.
The first person to receive the Freedom of the Borough accolade was Charles Stewart Parnell back in 1881.
More recent recipients include former Presidents of Ireland, Sean T. O’Ceallaigh, Eamonn de Valera and Mary Robinson.
Billy in fact becomes the first sportsperson to receive this accolade.