Michael Collins: patriot hero or counterrevolutionary?
Michael Collins is a Fine Gael hero. Each year young Fine Gael members from across the country travel to Béal na Bláth in County Cork where Collins was killed by republican forces on August 22 1922 during the Civil War. The annual commemoration for Collins features Fine Gael luminaries or those who share their outlook. In 2018, for example, the current Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, got carried away with himself and referred to the site of Collins’ execution as a ‘Gaelic Calvary’. Having recovered from this emotional spasm, he went on, like most of his Fine Gael predecessors, to make a banal speech about current Irish political life, laced with odd quotes from Collins himself. Fine Gael’s cult of Collins also includes the current Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, who once praised Enda Kenny as the embodiment of Collins ‘realism and idealism’.