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The conferring on rugby player Brian O’Driscoll with the Freedom of the City of Dublin may be trendy and populist but I believe it is not in keeping with the spirit of this coveted honour.
Without question, Brian O’Driscoll is one of the finest rugby players this country has produced. Nonetheless, Brian O’Driscoll was, and still is, a highly paid professional sportsman, probably one of the highest paid in the country. The fact of being a naturally talented and gifted sports personality is not sufficient reason to have the Freedom of the City conferred on one.
There are others, like Brian O’Driscoll’s co-nominee for the Freedom of the City, social justice campaigner Fr Peter McVerry, who are worthy of consideration. Indeed, a name not unfamiliar to readers of the Irish Examiner, Derek Leinster, chairperson of the Bethany Survivors Group, is one such person. Mr Leinster has been campaigning for years for acknowledgement of the abuse and injustices perpetrated on Protestant children in this State. Mr Leinster’s courteousness, forgiveness, and generosity of spirit is what makes society civil and is a shining example to all who have suffered abuse as children and have had that suffering ignored or denied over decades,
I feel Brian O’Driscoll might agree.
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