Thursday 23 October 2014

Remembering two great Irish patriots - 92 years after their deaths

Emma Jane Hade

Published 18/08/2014 | 02:30

Frances FitzGerald lays a wreath at the grave of Michael Collins at the Annual Collins Griffith Commemorations in the Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum. Photo: Peter Houlihan
Simon Harris and Frances FitzGerald look at the armoured car 'Sliabh na Mban' beside the grave of Michael Collins at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

FLANKED by descendants of his family, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald led the tributes to Michael Collins for the 92nd anniversary of his death as she laid a wreath on his grave.

Ms Fitzgerald was participating in the 'Collins Griffith Commemoration' at the historic Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday.

Wreaths were laid at the graves of both Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith during the annual ceremony which is held to pay tribute to the lives and legacies of both men.

Former justice minister and broadcaster Norah Owen stood close to the political leaders present, as she paid tribute to her grand-uncle Michael Collins.

Her late mother was Kitty Collins, a niece of the 'Big Fella', who was shot dead during an ambush in west Cork on August 22, 1922.

"I come here every year if I can, or I go to Beal na Blath," Ms Owen said.

"It means that a man that did an awful lot for Ireland is being remembered. I have always felt connected to him because I went into politics."

She recalled emotional moments in her career when she stood in Dublin Castle and outside 10 Downing Street in London, both places where her uncle had fought for the freedom of the country.

Also commemorated yesterday was the 92nd anniversary of the death of Arthur Griffith, which occurred last Tuesday.

Eddie Nolan, the chairman of the Collins Griffith Society, said the two men were "great Irish patriots".

He added that they will "forever be linked closely together in Irish history" for their roles in the Treaty negotiations process.

Also beside the grave of General Collins were members of the Defence Forces as well as the armoured 'Sliabh na mBan' car, which was used to transfer his body from the ambush site to Cork city.

The Justice Minister said that she was "honoured to lay a wreath in recognition" of the "heroic" efforts from Michael Collins in establishing the Irish State.

Irish Independent

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