Michael Collins has won the IrishCentral.com Ireland's Greatest Person Poll by a landslide with 58 percent of the votes. 'The Big Fella' received an overwhelming majority of the votes showing he still pulls the populist vote.
We were prompted to publish the poll as RTE (Ireland's national broadcaster) have created a competition to see who Ireland will vote in as the greatest Irish person ever. The show has sparked a massive interest in Irish Americans.
As part of the show Irish celebrities and political figures picked famous Irish figures and became their champions. Michael McDowell a Senior Counsel and former Minister for Justice chose Michael Collins to champion.
Collins is generally thought to be one of the most influential figures in creating the Irish republic so it is not wonder that he is still topping the votes on the popularity scale.
During his lifetime he was an Irish revolutionary leader, Minister for Finance and MP for Cork South in the First Parliament of 1919. He was also the director of Intelligence for the Old IRA and a member of the Irish delegation during the Anglo-Irish Treaty negotiations. Subsequently, he was both chairman of the Provisional Government and commander-in-chief of the National Army. Throughout this time, at least as of 1919, he was also President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood.
He was killed in an IRA ambush in 1922 having accepted that Treaty that partitioned the country. Over 300,000 mourners attended his funeral.
The final five on the list also includes James Connolly, Bono, John Hume and Mary Robinson.
James Connolly, though Scottish-born played a huge role the 1916 Easter Rising and built much of the framework for the Irish state. He was shot by a British firing squad after the Easter Rising.
John Hume was one of the main architects in the Irish peace process and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He gave over his life to helping to resolve the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Europe's longest running conflict.
Finally, Mary Robinson, a former president of Ireland transformed the position being the first woman to hold the role and reinventing the role of women in political life in Ireland. She also became the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner.
In March the RTE show introduced a list of 40 names. Two weeks later this list was whittled down to the top ten. They were Bono, Dr. Noel Browne, Michael Collins, James Connolly, Stephen Gately, John Hume, Phil Lynott, Padraig Pearse, Mary Robinson and Adi Roche.
The RTE competition continues however if IrishCentral's poll is anything to go by Michael Collins will surely win.
For more info go to www.rte.ie/tv/irelandsgreatest .
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