Top City honour for modest Clondalkin man Jim Gavin

by Cóilín Duffy

Jim Gavin became the first recipient of the Freedom of the City of Dublin in four years last weekend.

Many of his family, friends, GAA and work colleagues, and key figures from across the sporting spectrum were among the 500 gathered in the Mansion House on Saturday night.

The Clondalkin native followed a long line of luminarees to become the latest Freeman or Freewoman of the City including Isaac Butt, Bill Clinton, Mother Teresa, John F Kennedy, A. Chester Beatty, U2, Gay Byrne, Kevin Heffernan, Fr. Peter McVerry and Brian O’Driscoll.

Gavin became the first recipient of the honour since the February 28 2014, when John Giles and Brother Kevin Crowley were feted.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe presented the award to Jim, as the Council bestowed the honour on him for his contribution to public life and service to his county and country both on and off the field.

Gavin is best known as the outgoing Dublin Senior Football Manager, bringing a historic never before achieved ‘five-in-a-row’ of All-Ireland Senior Mens Football titles, culminating in last September’s All-Ireland Final replay win over Kerry.

However, he has also served his country for over 20 years as a military pilot for Óglaigh na hÉireann, holding the Senior rank of Commandant.

He was also a former Chief Flying Instructor, a Captain and chief pilot in the Ministerial Air Transport Squadron and served as Chief of Military Aviation with the United Nations in the Central African Republic and Chad.

Among the privileges/duties of a Freeman/woman is the right to pasture sheep on common ground within the city boundaries, which U2 exercised in 2000 on St. Stephen’s Green.

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