BROADCASTER George Hook has hailed War of Independence hero Michael Collins as the greatest-ever Irishman.
The rugby pundit 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 Mr Collins' death.
He was shot and killed in an ambush as he returned to Cork city on August 22, 1922, after completing a tour of inspection in west Cork.
Mr Hook told the Herald the invitation to deliver the Beal na mBlath address ranks as "the greatest honour of my life".
"It is without doubt an incredible honour… the greatest honour I have ever received.
"His remarkable legacy has lessons for politicians, public servants, businessmen and patriots. His legacy is even more inspirational for modern Ireland given all that we have gone through.
"It will be an emotional day for me. 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 OK with the oration."