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An opportunity to move on

OF all the dreary objections to the invitation to Brian Lenihan to deliver the oration on the anniversary of the death of Michael Collins at Beal na mBlath, the decision of Young Fine Gael to boycott the occasion is probably the most depressing.

If the young cannot find the heart to move on, what hope do we have of ever severing the bitter bonds of the past? A correspondent, writing today, who knew men who fought both alongside Collins and against him believes that they -- and Collins himself -- would be appalled that young Irish men and women this far removed could behave in such a manner.

In a way, it is idle to speculate on what Michael Collins might say about the Ireland of today. His likely opinions on today's bank bailouts and budget deficits do not bear thinking about, but it seems likely that, with the benefit of bloody hindsight, he would recommend unity of purpose, rather than the perpetuation of division.

Brian Lenihan's brother, Conor, pointed out in these pages recently that neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fail existed when Michael Collins was assassinated and that the figures of that period are now a part of history and are not the "property" of any one political party.

And, in case the point was missed, he pointed out that his and Brian's grandfather had been a Free State officer during the Civil War.

The Collins family's wise decision to invite Brian Lenihan to speak should be applauded and celebrated.

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