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Mairead for Béal na Bláth

July 26th, 2017 7:10 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

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IRISH MEP Mairead McGuinness has been confirmed as the guest speaker to deliver the oration at the annual Michael Collins commemoration at Beal na Bláth, which takes place on Sunday, August 20th. 

Ms McGuinness, a former journalist, television presenter and now first vice-president of the European Parliament told The Southern Star that she is ‘hugely honoured' to give the 2017 oration at Beal na Bláth on the 95th anniversary of Michael Collins's death.

‘This year sees the world facing many challenges around diplomacy, trade, globalisation and migration. In Europe, we face the looming reality of the UK leaving the EU and I hope to reflect on these challenges for our country and the wider world and how Michael Collins might view the UK's desire to “take back control” as it leaves the EU,' said Ms McGuinness.

‘Michael Collins was an Irish patriot with a vision for his country in the world and I will use the opportunity of the oration to reflect on this.'

Beal na Bláth annual commemoration committee chairman Dermot Collins said that they are delighted and honoured that Ms McGuinness accepted their invitation to give the oration. ‘We do our best to vary the choices of who we get to deliver the annual oration that represent all aspects of Irish life and on the basis of everyone engrossed in Brexit we thought it would be interesting to hear Mairead's views on Brexit,' said Dermot.

‘I think she will be an excellent person to deliver the oration and her media experience will bring positivity and enthusiasm to this year's event and it will have an European dimension too.'

Ms McGuinness follows in the footsteps of President Michael D Higgins who delivered the oration on the 100th anniversary of 1916, the first sitting president to ever do so. The Midlands-North West MEP was first elected to the European Parliament in 2004.

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