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Politicians today 'have forgotten the lessons of Collins'

MODERN Irish politicians have totally forgotten the lessons of integrity and probity left by General Michael Collins in their lust for power.

The warning came from Newstalk broadcaster George Hook who delivered the keynote oration at the Beal na mBlath ceremony in west Cork to mark the 92nd anniversary of the death of General Collins (31).

The Free State finance minister and IRA commander 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.

"Michael Collins is best remembered as a military figure - and rightly so," he said.

"But it is only part of the bigger picture. He was first and foremost a nation builder. He didn't just have vision, but he was extremely practical and a superb administrator in the Department of Finance."

Mr Hook said Collins' renowned integrity was best evidenced from recent archives which revealed the 'Big Fella' submitted petrol expenses to WT Cosgrave but only after he had deducted personal mileage.

"It was typical of the man …Ivor Callely obviously did not study Collins," he added.


Mr Hook also warned that modern politicians had failed to learn from Collins and his determination to do what was best for the country rather than for his career.

He said Collins readily understood that signing the peace treaty with Britain was best for the country but would most likely cost him his life.

Mr Hook also slated four Fianna Fail leaders for what their economic and financial policies cost Ireland.

"(Eamon) de Valera, (Jack) Lynch, (Charles) Haughey and (Bertie) Ahern, all brought Ireland to the brink of financial implosion in their lust for power," he said.

Mr Hook warned Ireland had to learn the lessons from Collins that power should never be "up for auction".

"The seducers with honeyed words promise an easy way to financial sovereignty - taxes can be reduced, we can continue to spend more than we take in and we can borrow indefinitely.

"But Collins told the truth in a simple and unvarnished way…that the Irish people are willing to pay any price, bear any burden to make this country a better place for their children and grandchildren", he said.