Taoiseach to give Collins address

Sun, Aug 19, 2012, 01:00

Enda Kenny will become the first serving Taoiseach to address the annual Béal na mBláth commemoration in west Cork later today.

This year’s commemoration will also mark something of a first in another respect as the Rolls-Royce armoured car, Sliabh na mBan, which was part of Michael Collins’s convoy on the day he was killed in 1922, will return to Béal na mBláth.

Acquired by the Free State Army from the British on their departure in 1922, the armoured car, then named Slievenamon, saw action in the Civil War and was used to evacuate Collins’s body from Béal na mBláth to Shanakiel Hospital in Cork.

The local committee which organises the annual event decided that the Taoiseach would be the most appropriate person to deliver the speech on the 90th anniversary of Collins’s death at the site during the Civil War.

The event is synonymous with Fine Gael, although the organisers broke with tradition two years ago when they invited the late Brian Lenihan of Fianna Fáil, then minister for finance, to speak.

To mark the 90th anniversary of the death of Collins, who was killed in an ambush during a tour of his native west Cork on August 22nd, 1922, the Béal na mBláth Committee is publishing a book recalling some of the commemorations over the years.

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