Lenihan invited to Béal na mBláth


MINISTER for Finance Brian Lenihan will become the first Fianna Fáil politician to deliver the oration at the annual Béal na mBláth commemoration of Michael Collins in west Cork, an event closely associated with Fine Gael.

A spokesman for Mr Lenihan confirmed an informal approach has been made to him to speak at the event, which takes place in August each year. It is understood the Minister will accept when a formal invitation is made.

Fine Gael TD for Cork South West Jim O’Keeffe said: “The committee, after consultation with the Collins family, came to the conclusion it might be a good idea to ask Mr Lenihan. My role was to broach it with him and to find out if he would like to do it.

Although the event is identified with Fine Gael, the committee have invited people not associated with the party in recent years, including [film producer] Lord David Puttnam, and Mary Robinson.

The annual ceremony commemorates the death of Collins, who died after being ambushed in Béal na mBláth in 1922.

Collins was minister for finance in the first government after the Treaty was signed.

Delivering the oration in 2007, Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly said it was time to consign to the scrap heap any semblance of bitterness and poison that might still remain after the Civil War.