Lenihan is first Fianna Failer to speak at Collins ceremony
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan will make history this month when he delivers the oration at the Beal na mBlath commemoration for Michael Collins.
"I am greatly honoured that the first time the Collins family have invited a Fianna Fail minister to give the oration they picked me," said Mr Lenihan yesterday.
He will become the first senior Fianna Fail figure in modern times to deliver the oration at a ceremony which traditionally has had strong links to Fine Gael.
The invitation to deliver the oration at the site where the War of Independence leader was shot and killed during a Civil War ambush was extended in recognition of the courage he has shown recently in fighting serious illness.
The Beal na mBlath Committee chairman, Cllr Dermot Collins, said it was time the oration, which has been non-political for some time, had a Fianna Fail speaker.
"In the present climate, with the way that things have moved on in the country --especially with the peace process in the North and the way in which the process was further copper-fastened recently -- we felt it was time to move on too," he said.
"We felt that the appropriate person would be Brian Lenihan as he demonstrated courage, particularly in relation to health issues. A lesser man might have folded up and left politics."