Former mayor gets Freedom of the City

Alisha Morrissey
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City building to be named after John Murphy

John Murphy hasn't been mayor in nearly a decade, but Thursday night he gave a rousing speech at city hall. Murphy, the former Water Street vendor and longtime mayor, was given the Freedom of the City at a ceremony at city hall in St. John's.

Murphy nodded in gratitude and his wife Sheilagh Guy-Murphy dabbed away tears as current Mayor Dennis O'Keefe announced that as well as receiving the rare honour, the city would name its annex building on New Gower Street after Murphy.

Former St. John's mayor John Murphy shakes hands with current Mayor Dennis O'Keefe during a ceremony in which Murphy received the Freedom of the City. Photo by Alisha Morrissey/The Telegram

John Murphy hasn't been mayor in nearly a decade, but Thursday night he gave a rousing speech at city hall. Murphy, the former Water Street vendor and longtime mayor, was given the Freedom of the City at a ceremony at city hall in St. John's.

Murphy nodded in gratitude and his wife Sheilagh Guy-Murphy dabbed away tears as current Mayor Dennis O'Keefe announced that as well as receiving the rare honour, the city would name its annex building on New Gower Street after Murphy.

After O'Keefe's glowing speech outlining many of Murphy's accomplishments and accolades, Murphy said some words of thanks. Murphy, who is 88 and suffers from Parkinson's, was in great spirits and proved the disease hasn't had an effect on his wit.

He made jokes about the age of fellow Freedom recipient Paul O'Neill, and that he wished he'd had O'Keefe for a campaign manager years ago.

He also said he was pleased to see Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff was still serving on council because he feels the city is safe when she's there.

Murphy was also pleased with a large turnout, including Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and his wife, but mostly seeing his children and grandchildren on such a momentous occasion.

"As my wife always says, the best part of the speech is when you sit down," Murphy said, and he did just that before being entertained by the Singing Legionnaires.

amorrissey@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Water Street, St. John's, New Gower Street

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  • Mayor Betty Fitzgerald
    January 15, 2012 - 21:02

    John Murphy was a very impressive gentleman, Who know so many people and made so many friends, including myself. His wife Sheilagh is also a very talented lady and i am shore she will miss her husband very much but she is also a very strong lady who will still do many great things, Mayor Muraphy as i know him earlier and later as John loved his wife so much and treated her with special care, He was a Great Man one who will be missed by all who know him. That is why i now say to Sheilagh keep on doing your great work it would be what John would want you to do. Good Luck my friend and may your loving husband RIP.

  • Stumpy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Does that mean he doesn't have to pay taxes and gets free cruises ?

  • Stumpy
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Does that mean he doesn't have to pay taxes and gets free cruises ?