Clare Fine Gael Deputy Pat Breen was among a large contingent of Fine Gael supporters from County Clare who travelled to Beal na Blath on Sunday last.

August 24th, 2010 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen was among a large contingent of Fine Gael supporters from County Clare who travelled to Beal Na Blath, to attend the Annual Commemoration on the death of Michael Collins. This year’s commemoration was held on the 88th Anniversary to the day of his death (22nd August). The oration this year was delivered by the Finance Minister Brian Lenihan.

Speaking after the oration Deputy Breen said that “Brian Lenihan received a very warm welcome from the crowd which included a large number of Fine Gael members from County Clare and several Fianna Fail supports from the County. One of Michael Collins’s life principles was “Fortitude in the face of adversity” and there is an acknowledgement among the general public for Brian Lenihan and the way in which he is dealing with his illness with such dignity and courage.”

“The invitation issued to Minister Lenihan to deliver the oration this year sparked a lot of controversy and there was a huge media presence there. The Annual Beal Na Blath Commemoration is not organised by the Fine Party, it is organised every year by the Beal Na Blath Committee in conjunction with the Collins Family. While Brian Lenihan was the first Fianna Cabinet Minister to deliver the oration; he is not the first Fianna Fail person to be invited by the Collins family to attend events to mark the life of Michael Collins. Former Minister and Fianna Deputy for County Clare Sile DeValera was invited by his nephew Liam Collins and the last member of the Collins Family to live in “Woodfield” to attend the celebrations to mark the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Michael Collins in 1990.”

“Previous Speakers have included UK Parliamentarian Lord David Puttnam and Mary Robinson and I believe that this year Brian Lenihan was invited by the Committee for a number of reasons. Firstly as Helen Collins, his grandniece has said on a number of occasions, the Collins family have always worked in every way for reconciliation and inclusivity. Fine Gael Members and supporters have a strong devotion and loyalty to Michael Collins, and quite rightly so, and while I do not expect to see a Fine Gael speaker invited to deliver the oration at Bodenstown in the near future, I believe that Brian Lenihan was invited to deliver the oration by the Collins family in a spirit of reconciliation particularly now given the peace process and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Another reason of course was because his grandfather a Clareman Paddy Lenihan fought on the Pro-Treaty side and was a big supporter of Michael Collins and also because both men served as Finance Ministers at very difficult periods in history.”

“Speaking to Brian Lenihan after he delivered his speech I know that he was honoured in a personal capacity to be asked to deliver the oration and he was very appreciative of the warm welcome he received.”