Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Two honoured with city freedom

Rugby star Brian O'Driscoll is to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin

Rugby star Brian O'Driscoll and human rights campaigner Fr Peter McVerry are to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisin Quinn said was a great honour to be able to propose two of capital's most inspirational citizens its highest award, to be handed over early next year.

"Brian and Fr Peter are from different generations but they share much in common," he said.

"They are both inspirational leaders. They set a remarkable example to us all by the way they apply themselves to their challenges.

"They are people who lead by the example they set. In their own way and in their own fields, they are both individuals who walk the walk."

The award of Freedom of the City of Dublin acknowledges the contribution of recipients to the life of Ireland's capital city.

Fr Peter has campaigned tirelessly for the rights of Dublin's young homeless people for more than 40 years, setting up a trust that provides a wide range of services.

Elsewhere O'Driscoll is one of Ireland's most respected and greatest rugby union players and captained for Leinster, Ireland and the British and Irish Lions include Under 19 World Cup, League Cups, Heineken Cups, Triple Crowns and the historic Grand Slam in 2009.

The Lord Mayor's nomination was ratified at this evening's Dublin City Council meeting.

Ancient privileges afforded to them include the right to bring goods into Dublin through the city gates without paying customs duties; the right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries; and the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.

"I am delighted they have agreed to accept this great honour and I know that all Dubliners will be both proud of, and find inspiration into the future from, these two remarkable men," the mayor added.

"They are and will continue to be great ambassadors for Dublin."

Former Freemen and Freewomen include former US presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, U2, Kevin Heffernan and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Louis Le Broquy and Thomas Kinsella were the last people to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2007.

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