Date: 03 Jun 2023
A special ceremony has been held at City Hall today to confer the Freedom of The City on six-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann.
The city’s highest honour was bestowed on the young boy in recognition of his campaign to raise awareness around organ donation.
A circus top transformed the outside lawn at City Hall, alongside acrobatic characters, and children’s entertainment to welcome invited guests.
The Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Tina Black was delighted to lead the celebratory event and said: “Dáithí is an exceptional and special little boy who has inspired and given hope to other young people waiting for a donor.”
Dáithí was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning the left side of his heart did not form correctly and he has been on the list for a heart transplant for several years.
Dáithí and his family have lobbied for a change in the legislation in Northern Ireland and Dáithí’s law successfully came into effect on Thursday 1 June.
This means all adults will be considered potential organ donors unless they choose to opt out or are in an excluded group.
Councillor Black also said: “Dáithí is an inspiration being so brave, at such a young age, in undergoing several open-heart surgeries in recent years. It is fantastic that he is now being recognised for his tireless campaigning in raising awareness around organ donation, and his success at bringing about a change in legislation.
“The Freedom of the City on Dáithí showcases the immense pride we as a city have for him and I am both humbled and delighted to be here today to congratulate and celebrate with courageous Dáithí and his family.”
Dáithí’s father Máirtín Mac Gabhann said: “Today is Dáithí’s day- it is testament to his remarkable character and tremendous spirit.
“We are so delighted to have the support of this amazing city on this historic day. We are forever grateful.”