Collins-Britain's Greatest Foe

It seems that Michael Collins is leading the British National Army Museum’s online poll to determine who Britain’s Greatest Foe was.

The "Big Fella" is indeed amongst the military astute when you consider that the list also includes George Washington, Napoleon Bonaparte, Erwin Rommel, Ataturk and Louis Botha to name but a few.

I have long had high regard for Michael Collins, something that many of my Republican comrades find quite strange. It's not hard to see how people could come to that conclusion, I'm a Northern Republican and my mother and father’s family both had members within the ranks of the 4th Northern Division of the IRA in the early 1920's.

While my Mother's family have always been resolute Sinn Féiners my father's family have been hardcore Fianna Failers since the civil war, in fact my great-grandfather was part of the group that blew up Dundalk barracks during the civil war.

Even given all of that I have always had huge respect for Collins both as a military leader and also for his political decisions. It saddens me that a party like Fine Gael attempt to claim allegiance to him.

Collins was a Republican and he firmly believed that partition was only a stepping stone to the ultimate freedom, the establishment of a 32 county Irish Republic.

To that end he secretly sent arms to the IRA in the North, much to the annoyance of both the British and the Northern Unionists.

Collins was sadly killed by his fellow Irishmen before he had a chance to realise his final dream. I wonder is things would have been different had he lived or would he have slowly slipped into a partitionist like most of his IRA comrades.

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