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National Head Office
+353 1 823 0776
9am – 5.30pmm
Monday -Friday
Information and Advice Number
087 912 3989
9am – 5.00pmm
Monday -Friday

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About us
Fr Peter McVerry SJ

Fr McVerry grew up in Newry, Co. Down and was educated at the Abbey Christian Brothers’ Grammar School in Newry and at the Jesuit school at Clongowes Wood College in Co. Kildare.

In 1962, he entered the Jesuit Order and was ordained in 1975. Peter has worked in Dublin’s north inner city since 1974, where he came into contact with young people who were sleeping on the streets because of their home situation.

In 1979 he opened a hostel for homeless boys aged 12-16, this subsequently became his life-time work. He saw through the work of this hostel that when the boys reached 16 and needed to leave, they had few options open to them and most ended up back living on the streets. This realisation led him to set about providing services and accommodation for older youths.

In 1980 Peter moved to Ballymun in north Dublin, and by the end of 1983 he had founded the Arrupe Society, a charity to tackle homelessness. This charity, which was subsequently renamed the Peter McVerry Trust, has progressed from a three-bedroom flat in Ballymun to becoming one of the country’s largest organisations responding to the issue of homelessness. In 2017 the charity worked with over 4,900 vulnerable youths.

As a social activist, Peter is a strong advocate for those who have no voice in society.  He has written widely on issues relating to young homeless people such as accommodation, drugs, juvenile justice, the Gardaí, prisons and education.

He has a regular article in the monthly Redemptorist magazine, Reality, and speaks on issues of homelessness, justice and faith to groups around the country.  He is a critic of government policy on issues such as homelessness, drugs and criminal justice.

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Peter McVerry Trust CEO with Fr Peter McVerry at the opening of his new office in Berkeley Street, Dublin 7.
Fr Peter McVerry at Balcurris

Peter was based for over 30 years at the Open Access Centre in Upper Sherrard Street but in August 2018 his office moved to Peter McVerry Trust’s Information and Advice Centre in Berkeley Street, Dublin 7.

Peter’s ongoing work with and campaigning on behalf of troubled young people has made him one of the most prophetic voices in Ireland today.

Books

The Meaning is in the Shadows is a collection of writings by Fr McVerry, which reflect on his experiences working in Dublin’s inner city. He questions the structures that affect the lives of those on the margins and makes radical suggestions for change.

"In a community that loves one another, there should be no-one poor, (unless all are poor); there should be no-one homeless, no-one lonely, no-one sick or alone without visitors, no-one in prison who has been abandoned and written off, there should be no-one rejected or marginalised."
50th Eucharistic Congress Dublin. June 2013

Awards

In March 2014 Fr Peter McVerry became 77th person to receive the Freedom of the City of Dublin.

In June 2014 he was awarded the Lifetime achievement award at the Pride of Ireland awards and in June 2015 he was awarded the Human Rights Prize by the French Ambassador to Ireland Jean-Pierre Thebault. More recently in 2018 he was awarded Rehab Person of the Year Award in 2018.

Fr Peter McVerry has also been awarded a number of other high profile awards in recognition of his work with vulnerable young people. A full list of recent awards is available below.

Please note that when accepting awards Peter stresses that the award is more a recognition of the struggles of the people impacted by homelessness and less about his own work and the work of the charity he founded.

  • Rehab People of the Year Award – April 2018
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Dublin (TCD) – November 2015
  • UCD Foundation Day Alumni Award in Science – November 2015
  • Special Award at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 – October 2015
  • Human Rights Prize – Embassy of France in Ireland – June 2015
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Pride of Ireland – (2014)
  • Freedom of Dublin (2014)
  • Professional Excellence Award for Outstanding Contribution to Irish Society by Griffith College (2011)
  • The Irish Times Living Dublin Award (2009)
  • Reality Person of the Year Award (2009)
  • Meteor Humanitarian Award (2006)
  • The Harry McKillop Irish Spirit Award (2006)
  • ESB Person of the Year Award (2005)
  • Dublin City University Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy
  • Honorary Fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland