Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council unanimously agreed to bestow the Freedom of the Borough to Mr Rory Best OBE in recognition of his outstanding sporting achievements.
The council united in its decision approved the notice of motion presented on Monday night
Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Gareth Wilson, said: “The Freedom of the Borough is the highest civic honour we can bestow on any person or organisation and it represents our formal expression in recognition of his outstanding sporting achievements and acknowledges Rory as an excellent ambassador for his sport and our borough.”
Best, steeped in all parts of the borough, was raised and educated in Poyntzpass, he went to Tandragee Junior High and then to Portadown College. He played rugby for Banbridge and his wife Jodie teaches in Armstrong Primary School in Armagh.
Seconding the notice of motion at the council meeting, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Alderman Jim Speers, said: “Captain of Ireland and Ulster Rugby as well as a British and Irish Lion, Rory brings great pride and honour to our area throughout his long and distinguished career and this is a fitting tribute to Rory who widely represents our borough.”
The Ulster and Ireland captain joined the Ulster Rugby squad in 2004 and made his debut for Ireland the following year. He has been a consistent figurehead in both the Ulster and Ireland teams ever since and is the most capped hooker for Ireland with an impressive 100 plus international caps and over 200 appearances for Ulster. He has also been part of the recent British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.
Best can boast an historic Grand Slam and Triple crowns at international level and in November 2016, he led Ireland to their first ever Test victory over New Zealand, ending the All Blacks record-winning streak of 18 games. Irelands subsequent win over Australia in the same series resulted in Ireland achieving victories over the Southern Hemisphere big 3 in the same calendar year for the first time in their history.
The council will now make arrangements for a prestigious ceremony to bestow this honour to the rugby star in 2018.