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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 December 2006, 16:59 GMT
Whiskey brings echo of civil war
bottles
The new whiskey was launched in Ireland recently
A new whiskey named after the iconic republican Michael Collins has raised echos of the Irish civil war.

A US-based spirits company recently launched the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey in Ireland with a picture of the War of Independence veteran on the label.

However, Fine Gael councillors from Collins's native County Cork have taken exception to his name being used.

The public representatives have criticised the product which features a copy of Collins' signature from the 1921 Treaty.

Collins, one of the most prominent IRA leaders during the Irish War of Independence, signed the treaty with the British government which led to the creation of the Irish Free State but split the republican movement.

In agreeing to the treaty, Collins famously said he was "signing his own death warrant" and his eventual assassination by anti-agreement republicans during the civil war saw him become one of Irish nationalism's most famous figures.

Councillors claimed the company was "acting in poor taste" by using Collins, nick-named the Big Fella, to promote the spirit.

Cork councillor Tom Sheahon said the use of Collins's name on the whiskey "created the wrong impression".

He said it appeared to be "simply a marketing ploy to sell the whiskey in the US".

collins logo
Cork councillors objected to the name and logo

"I am a huge admirer of Michael Collins, I always have been. He is the most important national figure in public life for the last century," he said.

"I think it is inappropriate."

Fine Gael former deputy leader Nora Owen, who is also a great-niece of Michael Collins, said the family had been contacted about the whiskey.

"I don't have any great problem with it being there and the family was consulted," she said.

More than 50,000 cases of the whiskey, made by the Cooley Distillery in County Louth, have been sold since its United States launch on St Patrick's Day.

Ballymena-born film star Liam Neeson played the part of Michael Collins in the successful movie directed by Neil Jordan.




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