September 6, 2005

Geldof gets right to graze sheep in Dublin

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish rocker and anti-poverty campaigner
Bob Geldof could find a new role for himself herding sheep in a
Dublin park after the council voted to give him freedom of the

Freemen of the capital have the right to graze sheep on
common ground within the city boundaries and Geldof could
follow in the footsteps of fellow rockers U2 who brought lambs
into central Dublin's St Stephen's Green when they received the
honor six years ago.

"The truth is I do have 14 sheep, down in Kent in my house
there, and I'll actually ship them over now to Stephen's Green
and you can all bugger off. That's where they are going to
live," famously outspoken Geldof told state broadcaster RTE.

Only 72 other people have been given the honor in the past
120 years, including Nobel peace prize winner Nelson Mandela,
and U.S. Presidents John F Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

Geldof, who organized July's Live 8 concerts to highlight
African poverty, said he was delighted at the council's
decision, taken on Monday night after months of wrangling.

"If you are going to be honoured it's your home town you
want more than anything else. I'm thrilled," he told RTE radio.

Holders of the ancient Freedom of Dublin could vote in
municipal and parliamentary elections and bring goods into
Dublin through the city gates without paying customs duties.

They also had to be ready to defend the city from attack
and could be called upon to join the city militia at short

In 1454, an act was passed stating that every merchant
admitted to the freedom of Dublin had to possess a coat of
mail, a bow, a light helmet and a sword of his own; freemen
from all the other trade guilds had to have a bow, arrows and a

Geldof will receive the honor alongside Irish Olympic hero
Ronnie Delaney, who won the 1,500m at the 1956 games in
Melbourne -- Ireland's last athletics gold medal.