Mullingar is to formally say thank you to its “outstanding” Olympic ambassador John Joe Nevin this autumn after a unanimous vote at this week’s meeting of the town council.
The motion to “grant an Address of Recognition to our double Olympian” was proposed by Cllr Detty Cornally, and agreed by all her elected colleagues to decide on a date for this at the council’s next meeting in September.
“He is ranked fourth in the world at bantamweight. He has won two medals at the world championships, a competition where Ireland has only won seven. He won a European Union silver medal in 2009, and a fifth Irish title this year,” began Cllr Cornally as she introduced her motion.
“When he went to the last Olympics he was the baby of the team [he was 18], and was only beaten by the gold medal winner. This time himself and Katie Taylor are the best chance of a medal for Ireland,” she pointed out.
“He should be honoured when he comes home, and I propose the town council award him an Address of Recognition,” she said.
Cllr Mick Dollard seconded this, telling the meeting he knew John Joe’s family, and felt “it would be very appropriate the town council should acknowledge his feats”.
“I would be horrified to think John Joe was discriminated against, because his achievements are remarkable. He has brought incredible honour to this town and his country, and I expect him to win a medal,” said Cllr Ruth Illingworth.
“I think as soon as possible we should award him an Address of Recognition, maybe in October?” she offered.
Cllr Peter Burke said he wanted to wish John Joe “the best of luck for his outstanding achievements”.
“Mullingar is now getting as much recognition for boxers as musicians!” he noted, mentioning light welterweight Johnny Joyce, who tied with the eventual gold medallist in Beijing before exiting on countback, and who was unlucky not to accompany John Joe to London.
Cllr Aidan Davitt suggested the award should include Killare’s 3-day eventer Joseph Murphy, and be granted by the county council, but Cllr Cornally argued there was “something special about being recognised by your own town”, and the meeting agreed.
John Joe Nevin will discover his first opponent at 2pm today (July 27 ) after the official draw is made at the ExCel venue in London, and will take to the ring for his first bout tomorrow (July 28 ).
He is seeded fourth in the draw, and is thus expected to make the semi-finals where a guaranteed bronze awaits.