Saturday 19 January 2019

Giles and Brother Kevin to become city Freemen

IRISH football icon John Giles has said he is "delighted" after he was chosen to become a Freeman of Dublin city.

The RTE pundit has been named along with Brother Kevin Crowley, of the Capuchin Day Centre, for the prestigious award.

A motion to propose the two men for the honour is due to go before Dublin City Council today, while the ceremony will take place in February.

"It's fantastic, I'm absolutely delighted," Mr Giles (73) told the Herald.

"It's great for the family, they are going to be so pleased, it's also great for the whole football community," he added.

He said he was especially proud to be named for the honour along with Brother Kevin.

"He is based on Church Street, which is up the road from where I was born," Mr Giles said.

The men will become the 77th and 78th recipients of the honour following on from predecessors such as the members of U2 and Nelson Mandela.


One of the benefits of becoming a Freeman of the City is being granted permission to graze sheep on common land, such as St Stephen's Green - a right exercised by Bono in 2000.

But Mr Giles said that he had no plans to bring any livestock.

"I'll bring the family and that'll be enough," he joked.

Cork native Brother Kevin (78), a campaigner for the poor and homeless, was also delighted with the honour.

"For a Corkman to get the freedom of Dublin is an amazing achievement, it shows how important it is to have Cork people up here," he said.

"I'm honoured to accept the freedom of the city and the reason I am is because of the people involved with fighting homelessness and poverty.

"This is for all the great volunteers supporting the day centre," he added.

The campaigner also joked that he would have to return to Cork to pick up a sheep for the occasion.


While becoming a Freeman grants some rights to the recipient, the position is not without its responsibilities.

Every Freeman has to be ready to defend the city from attack and any merchant who becomes a Freeman must own a coat of mail, a bow, a light helmet and a sword of his own.

A law passed in 1465, stated that each Freeman has to provide himself with a longbow (of his own length) made of yew, witch-hazel or ash. He must also have twelve arrows made of the same wood.

The last people to receive the honour were Irish ruby legend Brian O'Driscoll and homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.

Before the ceremony in March this year, O'Driscoll said he was "in awe" of Fr McVerry.

"What Peter does is life or death. He changes people's lives," he said.

And the Jesuit priest was also full of praise of O'Driscoll as a role model for young people.

"Brian is an icon, he has achieved everything that you can achieve in his particular world of rugby," Fr McVerry said.


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