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Bal na Blth event blighted by doughnuts

August 29th, 2015 10:55 AM

By Southern Star Team

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald speaking on the RTE News last Sunday evening, with the ‘doughnuts' clearly visible in the background

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By Kieran O’Mahony

BOYRACERS left a trail of unsightly ‘doughnuts’ – black tyre marks – in front of the monument site at Béal na Bláth last weekend, just days before the annual commemoration event, where the keynote speaker was Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

Visitors to the monument site on Sunday, where Michael Collins was assassinated in 1922, were greeted by the sight of many fresh black tyre marks.

Gardai in Macroom have said they are investigating the matter. The doughnuts were very evident on Sunday’s RTE television news, when Minister Fitzgerald was interviewed at the commemoration.

‘Thankfully, the unsightly doughnuts didn’t detract from the wonderful day we had. As the monument site and road were both so busy, I don’t think people noticed them on the day,’ said Dermot Collins, chairman of the Béal na Bláth Commemoration Committee. ‘But on a normal day, when it is less busier, I think they will detract from the site.’

Mr Collins said he had never seen them before at the monument site, and it was particularly frustrating given the site was recently cleaned up and the hedges were cut for the commemoration day. ‘I think they used this spot because it’s quite a wide road for handbrake turns and they probably didn’t even know what was happening here on Sunday.’

It seems that boy racers targeted the general area of Béal na Bláth on the same night, because the junction at the Béal na Bláth Filling Station was also covered in doughnuts, as were nearby crossroads.

‘From a tourism point of view, it just doesn’t look good and with so many visitors coming here throughout the year it really takes from this

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historical site. I am wondering if there is anything that Cork County Council can do to clean these tyre marks from the road?’ wondered Dermot.

But there was no reply on the issue from Cork County Council, by time of going to press.

Despite the unsightly doughnuts, Dermot said that this year’s Béal na Bláth event was well attended and the fact that the weather was fine was a blessing.

‘What was great this year was the number of young people who attended the event and they seem to be coming from all over the world. There was one particular young woman from Argentina who knew more about Michael Collins than some people in Ireland. So it’s great that they are taking an interest in their history.’

Gardaí in Macroom said they are aware of incidents involving cars in the West Cork area last weekend and they are currently investigating the matter. They have investigated and successfully prosecuted a number of people in the past in relation to similar incidents, they added.


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