herald

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Miriam’s delight as Hume wins the title of ‘Ireland’s Greatest’

PEACEMAKER John Hume is officially Ireland’s Greatest.

The politician has beaten Michael Collins, Mary Robinson, James Connolly and Bono to take the prestigious honour, through the votes of the Irish people.

The results of the public text and phone vote were revealed by Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show much to the delight of Hume’s champion, Prime Time presenter Miriam O’Callaghan. “I’m so happy.

I feel like I have given birth. I am overjoyed for John Hume and his family. He so deserves it. “Here is a man who has done so much for this country and we are finally acknowledging his great achievements and sacrifice.

This is a way of simply saying thank you to him. It was honestly never about awards for John,” she said. U2 singer Bono, whose case was presented by long time friend Dave Fanning, came in last in the poll from the Ireland’s Greatest series on RTE.

Live-line host Joe Duffy had put forward the case for James Connolly, former Progressive Democrat leader Michael McDowell promoted Michael Collins and economist David McWilliams supported former president Mary Robinson.

Derryman John Hume, founder of the SDLP and widely regarded as one of the architects of the Peace Process, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998. “When he set off on his lifelong mission to bring peace to this island of ours and to heal the divisions between the two communities it was always about respect, about integrity and about dialogue,” said Ms O’Callaghan. “It was a very long, very lonely and very difficult journey.

Attacked from all sides, his life threatened, he never gave up and against all the odds, he kept going and stayed true to his vision of a new agreed Ireland, where difference is respected and not used as an excuse for violence. “All of us are reaping the benefits of his lifelong work and that is why I passionately believe we should all be eternally grateful to him and overjoyed that he has won the title of Ireland’s Greatest,” she added.

Picked from a nationwide survey, the final five contenders for the title were championed in a series of one-off documentaries broadcast on RTE over the last few weeks. Second place went to Michael Collins, followed by Mary Robinson and James Connolly. Last night RTE said it would not be releasing the numbers of votes received for each nominee.

csheehy@herald.ie

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