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Brother Kevin gets freedom of capital

homeless campaigner Brother Kevin Crowley will tonight receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin, but he remains steadfast in his support of his home county Cork against the Dubs.

Br Kevin, alongside soccer legend and Herald sports columnist John Giles, will join the ranks of John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton when they become the 79th and 80th freemen of Dublin in the Mansion House this evening.

"I suppose it was a shock to me really getting the Freedom of Dublin, especially for a Cork man to be chosen to be getting it.

"I was just wondering what were they thinking," joked Br Kevin, who set up the Capuchin Day Centre for the poor 46 years ago.

"I love the Dubs, but I certainly could never say that I was a Dub because my heart is in Cork. I do shout for the Dubs when Cork are not playing, but of course I do hope when we do play the Dubs that we'll let them see how good we are," he added.

However, all joking aside, he feels he is "not worthy" of the award but accepts it on behalf of the poor of Dublin.

Tonight's Dublin recipient, John Giles, also admitted that the award took him by surprise.

"It's a great honour, it's very unexpected I must say.

"It's amazing really. I mean when I started playing soccer in Ormond Square I didn't know anything about the Freedom of the City. It's a very, very pleasant surprise."

It is the decision of the Lord Mayor of Dublin as to who receives the honour.


Lord Mayor Christy Burke, even before he took the chair of Dublin City Council, always knew who he would pick these men for the Freedom of the City.

"I knew if I ever became mayor I would honour them," he told the Herald.

Both men he chose because they have made an impact on the lives of other Dubliners.

"I picked Br Kevin purely because of his work - more than 40 years of feeding the homeless and he's turned many lives around," said Mr Burke.

As for the former Irish international midfielder, Mr Burke feels Dublin owes John Giles the award.

"John is a Dub who led the way to show young lads in working-class areas that if you have the skill you can be a star. Dublin owes this award to him.

"He's humble and a great example to young people to say: 'I can be that man'," said Mr Burke.

The award, which dates back to 1876, also comes with the right to graze sheep on city lands - but neither men plan to invoke this privilege.