O'Herlihy to call for alliance between FG and FF
VETERAN broadcaster Bill O'Herlihy will use his landmark General Michael Collins oration to propose a strategic alliance between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael.
The RTE presenter and Cork native will deliver the General Collins oration at Beal na mBlath on Sunday to mark the 91st anniversary of Collins's death in a Civil War ambush.
Mr O'Herlihy has remained tight-lipped about the precise content of his speech but spoke out earlier this year about his desire to see greater co-operation between the two main centre-right Irish parties.
"I would love to see a situation where FG and FF got together ... (but) I am not sure either party would be the slightest bit interested," he said last February.
Mr O'Herlihy, a long-time FG supporter, boasts close links with the party hierarchy and for many years acted as an advisor to former Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald.
Beal na mBlath has for decades been one of the most important political sites for FG but, over the past decade, has seen a remarkable winding down of Civil War era politics.
In 2010, the late Finance Minister Brian Lenihan became the first major Fianna Fail figure to be asked to deliver the oration.
Fine Gael hailed Mr Lenihan's oration as "a watershed" in the attitude towards General Collins and the embracing of his legacy by all Irish people.
Mr Lenihan said that "the spirit of Michael Collins is the spirit of the nation."
Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny became the first serving Taoiseach to deliver the oration at Beal na mBlath.