Friday 30 September 2016

Senator David Norris and Rory O’Neill (Panti Bliss) among those awarded Trinity honorary degrees

Sam Griffin

Published 27/11/2015 | 16:17

Graça Machel, David Norris and University Chancellor Mary Robinson among five to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells
Graça Machel, David Norris and University Chancellor Mary Robinson among five to Receive Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells
David Norris, University Chancellor Mary Robinson, Graça Machel, Rory O'Neill, Fr Peter McVerry, Tomi Reichental and Graça Machel received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells
David Norris, University Chancellor Mary Robinson, Graça Machel, Rory O'Neill, Fr Peter McVerry, Tomi Reichental and Graça Machel received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells

A Holocaust survivor, a homelessness campaigner and gay rights activists are among those to be awarded honorary degrees by Trinity College today.

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In total five people, from Ireland and further afield, are receiving the honours at a conferring ceremony in the university this afternoon.

Homeless campaigner Fr Peter McVerry was awarded the honour for his tireless commitment to helping young vulnerable people in Dublin’s north inner city. Last year his charity, the Peter McVerry Trust, helped over 4,400 young people.

At the ceremony, Trinity's public orator Prof Anna Chahoud said Fr McVerry's "self sacrifice had succeeded in building eleven hostels, over 100 apartments, and three centres for helping vulnerable young people" and helped them "to break the shackles of drug addiction".

Also honoured were gay rights activists Rory O’Neill, also known as Panti, and Independent Senator David Norris.

Mr O'Neill said the award had taken on special significance "because of the very special year it had been for the LGBT community in Ireland".

Graça Machel, David Norris and Mary Robinson received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells
Graça Machel, David Norris and Mary Robinson received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells

Women’s and children’s rights advocate Graca Machel is also being awarded an honorary degree today.

Ms Machal has set up and and is a member of host for organisations including the Foundation for Community Development, a non governmental organisation that works to promote development, democracy and social justice in Mozambique.

David Norris, University Chancellor Mary Robinson, Graça Machel, Rory O'Neill, Fr Peter McVerry, Tomi Reichental and Graça Machel received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells
David Norris, University Chancellor Mary Robinson, Graça Machel, Rory O'Neill, Fr Peter McVerry, Tomi Reichental and Graça Machel received Honorary Degrees at Trinity College Dublin. Pic: Maxwells

She has also contributed to the United Nations Secretary-General’s Millennium Development Goals Advocacy Group and the High-Level Panel on Post 2015 Development Agenda.

Tomi Reichental was also awarded at the ceremony. He has dedicated the last 10 years to informing student in Irish schools and colleges of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.

He, along with his family, was taken to Bergen Belsen when he was nine years old. He lost 35 family members in the Holocaust.

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