Taoiseach Mícheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar give joint speeches at Béal na mBláth on the 100th anniversary of Michael Collins’ death

Taoiseach Mícheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will give joint speeches in Béal na mBláth in August to mark the 100th anniversary of Michael Collins’ death.

he decision to allow leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – the two parties that trace their roots to divisions in Ireland’s bitter civil war – to address the ceremony in West Cork is an attempt to highlight the historic significance of the occasion.

Both Mr Martin and Mr Varadkar have accepted invitations to speak at the event on Sunday 21st August to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the IRA leader and military strategist, later seen by Britain as one of its most dangerous enemies.

Guerrilla warfare tactics developed by General Collins are still studied in military academies today.

A grand ceremony is now planned to mark the 100th anniversary of his death, with the site currently being restored to how it looked in 1922.

The Defense Forces will have special guards of honor at the ceremony, which will also feature the Rolls-Royce Sliabh na mBan armored car which accompanied General Collins on his fateful inspection tour of West Cork.

The Taoiseach said he was honored to attend General Collins’ centenary celebrations.

“This is a sensitive year for commemorations as we commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of civil war,” he said.

“Across our country we have hundreds of places that mark the defining moments and figures of our revolution. One of those places is Béal na mBláth, which has a resonance that will last for centuries as it captures the tragedy of a lost leader, the lost hopes and dreams of one who has accomplished so much in his short life.”

“The name is an immediate reminder of the tragedy and loss of the towering figure of Michael Collins, and it is fitting that we come together to commemorate the centenary of his death.”

Mr Varadkar said it was fitting that Ireland remembered the historical nature of what happened.

“The Irish state that we are all so proud of was founded a hundred years ago. It makes 2022 one of the most important years in our decade of remembrance.”

“As we reflect on our history, it is important to remember that the formation of the Irish Free State, or its survival, was not inevitable. Since then, many other European states have come and gone.”

“Only a handful have had 100 years of democracy and the rule of law. Throughout the 20th century, the Baltic States gained, lost, and then regained their independence. 30 years ago Ukraine became self-governing for the second time – and we need no reminders of attempts to take that away again.”

“Michael Collins was instrumental in shaping our state. For me he is the first among equals among its founders. Always striving to do what was best for our nation’s future, he took enormous risks for peace.

“He was both courageous and pragmatic. He understood that more could be achieved once profits were made and consolidated.

General Michael Collins Commemoration Committee Chair Garret Kelleher said they wanted to make the 2022 event very special.

“We are pleased and honored that two speakers of the caliber of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have accepted our invitation to speak at the centenary.”

“We very much look forward to welcoming you, members of the extended Collins family and many visitors to Béal na mBláth in August for a celebration befitting the occasion and a tribute to one of Ireland’s greatest leaders.”

Ireland is now working to salvage key elements of the Decade of Centenaries program after the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc at numerous public events over the past two years.

The pandemic hit several public events planned for 2020 and 2021 – key centenaries for the Revolutionary War – by restricting public participation and forcing many ceremonies to be held online.

Major public ceremonies will now be held in the coming weeks to celebrate the outbreak of the civil war which began with the shelling of the Four Courts in Dublin in June 1922 as well as the fatal ambush of General Michael Collins in West Cork on August 22nd year.

Large events are also planned for next year to celebrate May 24, when anti-Treaty forces were ordered to disarm and halt all military operations, marking the end of the bitter conflict.

The 100th anniversary of General Collins’ death marks the largest ceremony held at Béal na mBláth in over 80 years.

Cork Co Council is now working with the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Taoiseach and the Ministry of Culture to restore Ambush Béal na mBláth to its 1920s state – and at the centenary event the famous ‘Sliabh na mBan’ will be performed -rolls to be seen. Royce armored car escorting General Collins’ convoy that day.

Cork Mayor Councilor Gillian Coughlan said the work at Béal na mBláth was very exciting.

The site is being restored to reveal its historical value in the most sensitive and appropriate way, and to serve as a legacy in itself after the centenary.

A blueprint for the project was developed by key experts in archaeological historical landscapes, historical memorial landscapes, historical analysis of the battlefield and ambush area, and based on historical landscape assessment.

There are also traffic calming measures, additional parking spaces and road renewals.

“Thanks to our partners, Cork County Council, in consultation with the local Béal na mBláth Commemoration Committee, will develop a project that is both sensitive and minimally intrusive, but will enhance the legibility of the memorial and its context,” she said.

“Through quality design, the Beal na mBláth project will uncover and restore this historical route through our heritage landscape. The historical authenticity and integrity of the site will be preserved while ensuring that this national monument remains a legacy for future generations.”

A key element of the project is to allow visitors to experience the landscape and get an accurate sense of how it looked in 1922.

Mr Martin will also open a landmark four-day national conference on the Civil War in Cork.

The conference, taking place at University College Cork (UCC) from 15-18 June, will bring together over 130 experts to reflect on the bitter conflict that shaped Irish politics for decades to come.

Organizers said the conference will not have a single, agreed-upon narrative of the conflict or any sense of “closure.”

Instead, it seeks to collect ongoing academic research on the Civil War and “meaningful engagements at a difficult and traumatic time.”

Speakers will deliver 20-minute presentations covering all aspects of war, including international comparisons, global contexts, military conflict, civil trauma, gender roles, worker militancy, state violence, military strategy, propaganda, memory, ideology, agriculture
Riots, prison experiences, the military archives and the Beyond 2022 project.

Among the participants are Prof. Anne Dolan (TCD), Prof. Robert Gerwarth (UCD), Prof. Helen Graham (University of London) and Dr. Bill Kissane (London School of Economics).

https://www.independent.ie/news/taoiseach-micheal-martin-and-tanaiste-leo-varadkar-to-deliver-joint-orations-at-beal-na-mblath-to-mark-centenary-of-michael-collins-death-41651733.html Taoiseach Mícheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar give joint speeches at Béal na mBláth on the 100th anniversary of Michael Collins’ death

Fry Electronics Team

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