John Giles, Brother Kevin Crowley to get Freedom of Dublin City

John Giles

Football pundit John Giles and Brother Kevin Crowley of the Capuchin Day Centre are set to receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

The two men were put forward for the award by Dublin City Council last night.

Brother Kevin and John will join an illustrious list of Freemen and Freewomen including former US presidents John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the four members of U2, Kevin Heffernan and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Fr. Peter McVerry and Brian O’Driscoll were the last people to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Dublin in 2014.

“I am honoured and privileged to propose Brother Kevin Crowley and John Giles for Dublin City’s highest award, the Honorary Freedom of the City of Dublin," Lord Mayor of Dublin Christy Burke said.

"Both men are very worthy recipients and are known and admired throughout Ireland and the world for their achievements and work with those in need.”

Speaking to the Ian Dempsey Show on Today FM, John Giles said Brother Kevin is the more deserving of the two.

"I've played football and I love playing football and I've been awarded for it - I never set out to do that either - which is great," he said.

"But somebody doing the work that Brother Kevin does is amazing and obviously well deserved," he added.

Brother Kevin Crowley founded The Capuchin Day Centre in Bow Street in 1969 to help relieve the hardship endured by homeless people and to help those in need. When it opened first the Centre fed 50 people a day. In 2014 that number has risen to 800 people a day (300 for breakfast and 500 for lunch). In addition the centre gives food parcels to those in need and currently up to 1,800 a day receive parcels to help feed their families. As well as providing hot meals, the Centre also provides facilities such as shower areas, medical services and advice and information clinics.

John Giles was born in Ormond Square in Dublin and followed his father Christy into football. Spotted in Dublin while playing for Stella Maris Football Club, he started his English football career with Manchester United in 1956, with whom he won the FA Cup in 1963. Following a move to Leeds United, he went on to win the English League, FA Cup and League Cup with Leeds before moving on to West Bromwich Albion. He made his international debut for Ireland in 1959 and went on to earn 59 caps playing for his country. His management career included the Republic of Ireland and Shamrock Rovers. He is known to a younger generation as an analyst in RTE’s soccer coverage. John used his football experience to set up the John Giles Foundation to use the power of football to promote health, build community cohesion and encourage lifelong participation and learning.

Amongst the ancient privileges afforded to a Freeman or Freewoman is the right to bring goods into Dublin through the city gates, without paying customs duties, the right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries, and the right to vote in municipal and parliamentary elections.

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