Recognising services to the State - National honour

Former US president Bill Clinton was conferred with an honorary doctorate at Dublin City University.

So was Sr Stanislaus Kennedy, and the founder of Glen Dimplex, Martin Naughton, while later this month, former taoiseach Enda Kenny is to receive an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, NUI Galway.

All are well deserved recipients, and the pity is that they are not receiving a national honour.

Various attempts to establish a civic honours system have foundered, the last in 1999 when Fine Gael refused to support it on the grounds that it would be “foreign to our traditions”.

What is so foreign about a formal state recognition for contributions made to Ireland?

Our last national honours system was the Order of St Patrick, a dormant British order of chivalry.

Given our newfound friendship with the UK and its royal family, perhaps a republican version of this might be considered.

After all, the fiercely republican French have retained their Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. Former FG leader Alan Dukes is an Officier de la Légion d’Honneur.


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