Irish Times : U2 Get Freedom of Citysamedi 18 mars 2000
Source : Irish Times
From The Irish Times :
U2, Burmese Democracy Leader Get Freedom of City
10.30 p.m. Thousands of U2 fans thronged Smithfield market inthe city centre tonight to see their the band, their manager MrPaul McGuinness granted freedom of the city of Dublin.
Entry to the event was free, but restricted to 11,000ticket-holders. A heavy security operation meant that all ways into the square were closely monitored.
At the same ceremony, the freedom honour also went - withsignificantly greater irony - to Burmese pro-democracy activist MsAung San Suu Kyi.
A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, she is still effectively kept aprisoner in her home country by the military junta that rulesBurma.
For that reason, Ms Suu Kyi (54) was not in Dublin to be made afreewoman tonight, and her son Kim Aris flew to Ireland to collectthe award in her place.
When Lord Mayor Ms Mary Freehill first looked forward to the U2freedom gesture last year, it was hoped the band would be ableto stage an open-air concert to coincide with the event.
But this proved impossible as U2 are currently deep in thepreparation of a new album, and spending most of their timeensconced in a Dublin recording studio.
Lead singer Bono said : "We are having a hell of a time of it tryingto put out an album this year - that’s why we could not play a gigin Smithfield.
"But we regard this as a very big deal for us, and we are veryhumbled by it. It’s humbling and it’s fantastic.
"My mother and father grew up about a mile from Smithfield."
The U2 personnel - Bono, Edge, Larry Mullen and Adam Clayton -first got together as far back as 1976, although it was some yearsbefore they assumed their present collective identity and went onto fame and fortune.
The Lord Mayor, a long-time admirer of the band, said : "In a lot ofways they put Dublin on the map when the city was not aspopular as it is now.