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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 October, 2014

“Both inspirational leaders”: Brian O’Driscoll & Fr Peter McVerry receive the ‘Freedom of Dublin’

The Lord Mayor says they both lead by example and are “individuals who walk the walk”.

Updated at 9pm

NELSON MANDELA, AUNG San Suu Kyi… Adam Clayton*. There are some huge names on the roll of ‘Freedom of the City’ recipients in Dublin.

Two more are being added this evening — as the award is bestowed on rugby legend Brian O’Driscoll and charity campaigner Fr Peter McVerry.

It was a busy day at the Mansion house as the final touches were put in place ahead of tonight’s ceremony, as these Tweets from the Lord Mayor Oisín Quinn show…

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[Oisín Quinn]

And in advance of the big night, the two men were intent on paying a few tributes to each other — before receiving the honour of the city.

“What Peter does is life or death, he changes peoples’ lives,” O’Driscoll said of the veteran campaigner — who has worked with and championed the rights of Dublin’s young homeless for more than 30 years.

Of O’Driscoll, Fr McVerry had this to say:

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

He’s a role model for young people and has brought a huge amount of joy and pride to many people because of his achievements.

The Lord Mayor said the two men, though from different generations “share much in common and are both inspirational leaders”.

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

Ahead of becoming the 77th and 78th recipients of the ‘Freedom’ honour, O’Driscoll and McVerry were each presented with a granite and glass sculpture specially commissioned for the occasion.

The rain even held off for a few minutes, as the pair posed for photos outside the Lord Mayor’s official residence with their ‘Wave Sculptures’.

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[Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland]

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[Peter McVerry Trust]

Thomas Kinsella and Louis Le Brocquay were the last two recipients of the city’s highest honour. Bill Clinton, Gabriel Byrne, Bob Geldof and Ronnie Delaney have also had their names added to the roll of honour in recent years.

The first ever recipient was Isaac Butt, in 1876.

*As part of U2, in 2000. Poor Adam Clayton — always the butt of silly jokes, for no particular reason. Hope he’s not reading this.

Read: 9 things Brian O’Driscoll can do* now he’s got the Freedom of Dublin


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