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Ryan ConfidentialRTÉ One, Thursday, 10.15pm

Tim Collins

Gerry talks to Colonel Tim Collins about his extraordinary career as an Irish soldier in the British Army.

As a young SAS officer, Collins took part in secret missions in the first Gulf War. Later, as an SAS Company Commander, he led the audacious and successful mission to free 11 Irish soldiers taken hostage in Sierra Leone, by the notorious West Side Boys.

As Commanding Officer of the Royal Irish Regiment, he supervised the escort of Belfast children to their school - during the venemous Holycross dispute.

However, he is best known for the inspirational address he delivered to his Regiment on the eve of the invasion of Iraq. The eloquence of his words brought him to world attention.

Within a few months, however, he had accused of war crimes - including murder. A subsequent enquiry completely exonerated Collins of any wrong-doing - but, disillusioned, he chose to leave the British Army. In this interview, he gives Gerry a unique insight into his eventful life and times.

Previous guests on the show have included leading figures from the world of sport, entertainment, and politics and include Colin Farrell, Christina Noble, Ardal O'Hanlon, David Norris and Paul McGrath.

Tim Collins