ONE of the largest ceremonies in the Civil War Centenary program will celebrate the legacy of General Michael Collins.
he Free State Treasury Secretary, who as IRA intelligence chief led the Revolutionary War’s guerrilla campaign against British forces, was killed in his native West Cork in an ambush by anti-Treaty militants on 22 August 1922. He was 31 years old.
A recent poll by British military scientists named Collins and Revolutionary War leader George Washington as the most dangerous enemies the British Empire has ever faced.
The tactics of guerrilla warfare developed by Collins are still studied in military academies today.
To mark the 100th anniversary of his death, Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will hold a ceremony at the site of the ambush in Béal na mBláth on Sunday, August 21st.
“This is a sensitive year for commemorations as we commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the Civil War,” Martin said.
“Across our country we have hundreds of places that mark the defining moments and figures of our revolution.
“One such place is Béal na mBláth, whose resonance will last for centuries, capturing the tragedy of a lost leader, the lost hopes and dreams of one who has achieved 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.”
The decision to allow the leaders of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – the parties that trace their roots to the civil war divisions – to address the ceremony next August will underscore the historic importance of the occasion.
Mr Varadkar said history will also record the importance of the current coalition government.
“I think the civil war policy in this country is over as a result of the coalition we are in now,” he said.
“But I also think if we both speak together at this event, it will be an opportunity to reflect on how successful our state has been over the past 100 years.
“I know we have a lot of issues, we talk about them all the time and rightly so.
“But we’ve had 100 years of democracy, 30 peaceful transitions of power, we’ve gone from being one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the wealthiest and relatively safest countries to live in.
“The standard of living is well above the European average and none of that was the case 100 years ago and although we have many problems to solve, the vision of these founding fathers has largely been realised.
“It’s a real honor and as a leader of Fine Gael, particularly contemporary Fine Gael, it’s a real honor to be able to attend and speak at the centenary celebrations. I really want to thank the organizing committee for asking me to do this.”
The Taoiseach’s office has portraits of Eamon de Valera, founder of Fianna Fáil, and of Collins on the wall, and both Mr. Martin and Mr. Varadkar said they envisioned staying there.
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 Collins on his fateful inspection tour of West Cork.
Lord Varadkar hailed Collins as instrumental in founding the modern Irish state and ranked him as “first among equals among its founders”.
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 orators of the caliber of the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste have accepted our invitation to speak at the centenary celebration,” he said.
“We very much look forward to welcoming you, members of the extended Collins family and many visitors to Béal na mBláth for a celebration befitting the occasion and a tribute to one of Ireland’s greatest leaders.”
Large events are also planned for next year to celebrate May 24, when anti-Treaty forces were ordered to “drow down arms” and halt all military operations, marking the end of the bitter conflict.
https://www.independent.ie/news/civil-war-centenary-event-at-beal-na-mblath-will-celebrate-legacy-of-lost-leader-michael-collins-41884365.html The Civil War centenary in Béal na mBláth will celebrate the legacy of ‘lost leader’ Michael Collins