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Saturday 20 September 2014

"What Peter McVerry does is life or death," BOD sings praises of priest ahead of tonight's ceremony

Emma Jane Hade

Published 22/03/2014 | 11:59

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Brian O'Driscoll launches the 3rd ISPCC Anti-Bullying Shield Campaign at The Westbury Hotel, Dublin, Ireland - 24.02.14. Pictures: Cathal Burke / VIPIRELAND.COM *** Local Caption *** Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll is to receive the freedom of the city tonight.
"What Peter does is life or death," O'Driscoll said. "He changes people's lives".

Brian O'Driscoll and Fr Peter McVerry will both be bestowed with the Freedom of the City in Dublin

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Rugby legend O'Driscoll, who is on the brink of retirement, said that he is in awe of the work of his fellow recipient Fr McVerry, who has dedicated his life to working with homeless people.

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

And the Jesuit priest was not shy of compliments for the Six Nations champion either, and described him as an "icon".

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

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

The pair will receive the freedom to their home town in the Lord Mayor's Dawson Street residence this evening.

During the ceremony in the Mansion House's Round Room, the duo will receive an illuminated scroll and a granite and cut glass sculpture.

Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn said it is "an honour" for him to preside over the occasion, one of the "biggest" the city can bestow upon its citizens.

"Though from different generations, they share much in common and are both inspirational leaders," he said ahead of this evening's proceedings.

Previous recipients include Bono and Nelson Mandela.

Father-of-one O'Driscoll is expected to be accompanied by his glamorous wife Amy Huberman and parents Frank and Geraldine.

The 34-year-old Clontarf native was last week a crucial player in the Six Nations championship-winning team and is widely regarded as one of the best Irish players in history.

Fr McVerry grew up in Co Down, but made Ballymun his home when he began working in Dublin's inner city in the 70s.

He founded the Fr Peter McVerry Trust and is highly regarded as a "voice to the voiceless in society".

First the title, now BoD may be on a stamp

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