Broadcaster and rugby pundit George Hook has been chosen to deliver this year's address at the annual Michael Collins commemoration at Béal na Bláth in west Cork in August.
Mr Hook, a native of Albert Road in Cork city, is a long-time supporter of Fine Gael and frequently describes himself as "an old Blueshirt" on his Newstalk radio show, The Right Hook.
Chairman of the Béal na Bláth Commemoration Committee Dermot Collins confirmed that Mr Hook readily accepted the invitation.
“George Hook has always been a passionate believer in the ideals of Michael Collins and an admirer of his life and he’s always stated that and made no secret of that fact,” Mr Collins said.
Mr Hook told The Irish Times he was "absolutely chuffed" to be invited to give this year's oration. "Collins is one of my great heroes and has been almost since I've been able to walk. I learned about Collins on my mother's knee so therefore it influenced the way I vote. It also influenced my thinking about the Ireland that might have happened had Collins lived because neither side in 1922 would exactly be thrilled with the Ireland we have today.
“To me, the thing about Collins is that there would have been no Free State and ultimately no Republic without Collins. Collins did it, not de Valera, was who was hiding out in America. Without Collins, there would have been no successful revolution – he almost single-handedly delivered victory so therefore my admiration is total and of course his courage was immense.”
This year’s commemoration will mark the 92nd anniversary of Collins’s death at Béal na Bláth when his convoy was ambushed and attacked by anti-Treaty forces during the Civil War.