Collins 'greatest Irishman' says Hook
Michael Collins has been hailed as the greatest Irishman that ever lived - by broadcaster George Hook, writes Ralph Riegel.
Hook stressed that Collins, a former finance minister and IRA commander, has as much relevance to modern Ireland as he did to the fledgling Irish State when he was shot and killed 92 years ago.
The Newstalk broadcaster will deliver the keynote oration at the Beal na mBlath ceremony in west Cork on Sunday to mark the 92nd anniversary of Collins's death.
He was shot and killed in an ambush as he returned to Cork city on August 22, 1922, after completing an inspection tour.
Mr Hook told the Irish Independent the invitation to deliver the Beal na mBlath address ranked as "the greatest honour of my life".
"It is without doubt the greatest honour I have ever received. I believe that Michael Collins was the greatest Irishman that ever lived and I was raised on my mother Anne's knee with stories about him," he said.
"His remarkable legacy has lessons for politicians, public servants, businessmen and patriots. I think his legacy is even more inspirational for modern Ireland.
"If there is a heaven, and I hope there is, I'd like my mother to able to look down and see that I did okay with the oration and the tribute to the memory of Michael Collins."