Phil Coulter to be given freedom of city

Councillors in Londonderry were singing off the same hymn sheet when they unanimously agreed to confer the honour of the freedom of the city on Phil Coulter.

The renowned musician, songwriter and record producer, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, has amassed 23 platinum discs, 39 gold discs, 52 silver discs and a plethora of other awards including the Gold Badge from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Bringing the motion forward Aontú councillor Emmet Doyle spoke of his shock to discover that Phil Coulter (pictured) had not already been included on the roll of freemen of the city.

He said: “One of the things people know about Phil is that he is a proud Derry man and we obviously know the many accolades he has been awarded over the many years, not just for his songwriting but also for his singing. He is much loved throughout Ireland and further afield.

Councillors voted unanimously to bestow the freedom of Londonderry on Phil Coulter

“When I looked at the great names of recent times on the roll of freemen it would be remiss of us as a city not to point to Phil and express our pride in him, pride in his work and pride that he is from this city and he is a major ambassador for music, talent and entertainment right across the music and entertainment scene.

“He is also someone who has never forgotten where he comes from and recently he has been playing gigs here in the city. When I spoke to him about five or six weeks ago and told him that I had planned to do this and to seek his permission, he was blown away and I think that’s the measure of the man.

“I want to say to Phil, thank you, I want to say to his team thank you and in recognition of all of those things on behalf of the town he loved so well I would like to move forward and award him the freedom of the city.”

Seconding the motion Alliance councillor Rachael Ferguson described Mr Coulter as a “son of the city”, praising the work he has done “highlighting the good that comes from the city”.