Last day's voting in search for 'Ireland's Greatest'


VOTING LINES will close at 10.30 tonight in RTÉ’s search to find the greatest person in the history of Ireland. The winner will be announced on the Late Late Show. The five figures in the running are Michael Collins, James Connolly, Bono, Mary Robinson and John Hume. They were selected in a public vote from a shortlist of 40 people whose names topped a survey by Ipsos/MRBI.

Over the past five weeks the figures have been profiled in TV documentaries. Former PD leader Michael McDowell championed the case of Michael Collins; RTÉ’s Joe Duffy presented the programme on James Connolly; Bono was championed by RTÉ’s Dave Fanning; economist David McWilliams made the case for Mary Robinson, and Prime Time’s Miriam O’Callaghan presented the documentary on John Hume.

An RTÉ spokeswoman said the average viewing figure for the series was 318,400.

The shortlist has been controversial, with claims it was skewed towards modern figures. Historian Tim Pat Coogan said there were names missing that defied belief, such as Michael Davitt, Charles Stewart Parnell, Daniel O’Connell and James Joyce.

UCD professor of history Diarmaid Ferriter said it was difficult for historians to take the list seriously, and questioned the absence of writers such as Joyce, Yeats, Beckett and Shaw.

Michael McDowell yesterday presented his €6,000 fee for making the Michael Collins programme to the Collins 22 Society.

The phone numbers needed to vote for Ireland’s Greatest are on