Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar have accepted invitations to jointly address this year’s Michael Collins annual commemoration in Béal na Bláth to mark the centenary of Collins’ death in the Civil War.
Mr Martin will become the first Fianna Fáil taoiseach to address the commemoration, which will take place on August 21 at the memorial near Crookstown in Mid-Cork, erected to mark the spot where Collins was killed.
Thanking the organizing committee, the Taoiseach said: “2022 is an important and sensitive year for commemorations as we mark the centenary of the start of the Civil War. Throughout our country, we have hundreds of places where the decisive moments and personalities of our revolution are marked.
“One such place is Béal na Bláth, which has a resonance that will last for centuries, capturing the tragedy of a lost leader, the lost hopes and dreams of an individual who achieved so much in his short life.
“The name instantly recalls the tragedy and loss of the imposing figure of Michael Collins, and it is fitting that we come together to mark the centenary of his death,” said Mr Martin, who will become the second Fianna Fáil politician after by Brian Lenihan. jnr to speak at the event.
Mr Varadkar, who also thanked the committee for being invited to speak, said: “It is important to remember that there was nothing inevitable about the creation of the Irish Free State or its survival. Many other European states have come and gone since then. Only a handful have had a hundred years of democracy and the rule of law.
“During the course of the 20th century, the Baltic States gained their independence, lost it, and then regained it again. Thirty years ago, Ukraine became autonomous for the second time, and we don’t need any reminders about the attempts being made to wrest it away again.”
Varadkar, following in the footsteps of his predecessor as Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, who also delivered the speech at Béal na Bláth on the 90th anniversary of Collins’s death, said the West Cork-born revolutionary was “instrumental in the configuration of our state. ”
“For me, it is the first among equals among its founders. He always strove to do what was best for the future of our nation and took huge risks for peace. He was both brave and pragmatic. He understood that once the achievements were achieved and consolidated, he could achieve more”.
The commemoration takes place on the Sunday closest to 22 August, the day in 1922 when Collins was killed in an ambush by the Anti-Treaty IRA at Béal na Bláth while returning from a tour of Free State garrisons in West Cork during the Civil War. War.
Chairman of the Michael Collins Commemoration Committee, Councilor Garrett Kelleher (FG), said the committee was “delighted and honored that two speakers of the caliber of Taoiseach and Tánaiste have accepted our invitation to speak at the centenary commemoration.”
“We look forward to welcoming them, members of the extended Collins family and many visitors to Béal na Bláth in August for what we hope will be a commemoration befitting the occasion and giving due honor to one of America’s greatest leaders. important in Ireland.
Kelleher said the committee was working closely with Cork County Council, An Garda Síochána, the Department of Defense and the Department for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media ahead of this year’s commemoration, which it is expected to draw record attendance. .