Plans being finalised for centenary commemoration of Béal na Bláth

This year it will take place on Sunday, August 21, and a plan has been prepared to cater for crowds of between 2,000 and up to 5,000
Plans being finalised for centenary commemoration of Béal na Bláth

The annual Michael Collins commemoration at Béal na Bláth in 2018. This year the event will be addressed by the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, and by Tánaiste, and Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar. File picture: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Plans are being finalised to accommodate thousands of people who are expected to attend the historic centenary commemoration of the assassination of Michael Collins at Béal na Bláth in West Cork later this month.

A major traffic management and health and safety plan has been prepared to cater for crowds of between 2,000 and up to 5,000, but there are contingency plans in place to cater for more.

Event management experts have been drafted in by the committee which plans the annual commemoration to help with the logistics around this year’s centenary event which will be addressed jointly by the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, and by Tánaiste, and Fine Gael leader, Leo Varadkar.

It will be the first time that a Fianna Fáil Taoiseach and leader will address the gathering at the site which marks the ambush site where Collins was shot and killed on August 22, 1922, in the early months of the Civil War.

The annual commemoration takes place on the Sunday closest to August 22. This year it will take place on Sunday, August 21.

Chairman of the Michael Collins Commemoration Committee, Fine Gael Cork city councillor, Garret Kelleher, said detailed planning for the centenary commemoration has been underway for months, involving local landowners, Cork County Council, gardaí, the Defence Forces, event planning experts, the civil defence and Kilmurry GAA club.

A road closure is expected to be in place on the L2011 from around 10am on the morning of the commemoration. Some 30 acres of land close to the ambush have been made available by local landowners to facilitate parking.

A shuttle bus will run from Crookstown village to the ambush site, with parking on the Newcestown side within walking distance of the memorial site. But Mr Kelleher said there is no room at the ambush site to facilitate seating.

He advised that people will be required to stand for the duration of the ceremony and there are no plans for big screens. Mr Kelleher also advised that people may be directed into fields adjoining the ambush site, that the ground there is uneven and he urged people to wear appropriate footwear.

The ceremony is due to start at 3pm, but people are being encouraged to have their cars parked by 1.30pm. RTÉ is planning to broadcast the event live on the RTÉ News channel and online.

There will be a strong Defence Forces involvement, with the Taoiseach inspecting a guard of honour. Cork County Council is currently overseeing the restoration and regeneration of the ambush site memorial and site improvement works to improve access and facilities at the site.

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