Exclusive – Letters and emails sent by members of the public to Dublin City Council claimed that he didn’t deserve the honour

Angry Dubliners objected to Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan being awarded the Freedom of the City over his handling of the CervicalCheck controversy.
Dr Tony Holohan accepted the Freedom of Dublin City during a private ceremony on Wednesday on behalf of all health workers for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dublin City Council received 22 letters and emails from members of the public last year about Dr Holohan becoming a Freeman of Dublin – with 21 of them stating that he didn’t deserve the honour.
These letters, released to the Irish Daily Star under the Freedom of Information Act, show that many people felt Dr Holohan shouldnt be honoured with the award due to his role in the CervicalCheck controversy.
Dr Holohan advised the Government against a review of the screening programme after terminally-ill campaigner Vicky Phelan exposed the CervicalCheck scandal by taking her case to the High Court and instead urged the Government to order a report which he would prepare himself.
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The Government ignored Dr Holohans advice and announced a review, which exposed further failings of the screening programme.
Most members of the public that objected to him becoming a Freeman of the City felt it was inappropriate to award him with the honour due to the CervicalCheck controversy.
One person said: I am both upset and horrified that following the CervicalCheck debacle, this was done without any regard for all the amazing women affected by it.
I feel more thought should have been given to the pain caused to every one of us involved.
It now seems that Mr Holohan is being rewarded.
It does not show any empathy toward the victims of the CervicalCheck debacle or indeed the people who have died in our nursing homes during Covid-19.
This does not warrant the Freedom Of The City.
Another member of the public said: His actions during the Covid-19 crisis do not negate his actions during the cervical scandal. He should not be given this award.”
A letter sent to Dublin City Council over its decision to award Dr Tony Holohan the Freedom of the City (Image: Irish Daily Star)
Other letter-writers suggested that campaigner Vicky Phelan is a more deserving winner of the Freedom of the City.
One person said: What exactly has Mr Holohan done to deserve it? He did what he was paid to do during the pandemic.
Have you any plans to award Vicky Phelan the Freedom of Dublin?.
Other members of the public who penned letters said Dr Holohan shouldnt be rewarded for simply doing his job.
One said: I would like to know if you are nominating Mr Holohan for this award for merely doing his job and collecting his salary?
If so, I hereby nominate every working person in Ireland for the same award.”
Other letter-writer suggested that campaigner Vicky Phelan is a more deserving winner of the Freedom of the City. (Image: Collins Courts)
And another person said: In my opinion, he was more than handsomely paid to do his job, a job he should have been sacked from after the cervical debacle.
I wonder how the families of these women feel about your proposal. He doesnt deserve the Freedom of my City.”
Another member of the public said: There are a long list of reasons as to why he does not deserve this title.
May I remind you that we are still in a pandemic and this is very premature.
Please consider the publics feelings at this time too because all this is doing is causing anger.
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And another added: An award when the crisis is still not over is insulting to those who died and those who sacrificed hugely to prevent others and themselves from suffering.
The only letter that supported the councils motion to award the Freedom of the City to Dr Holohan was sent by Fine Gael councillor Danny Byrne.
In response to one person who objected to Dr Holohans nomination, Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu said the motion was passed by Dublin City councillors unanimously at a meeting last June and therefore would not be changed.
She said: The councillors and public who proposed him were doing so for his work with COVID-19 and as the lead in the area.
I have spoke to CervicalCheck advocates and I sympathise completely but the award was proposed by the councillors on the night unanimously, there were no objections.
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