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Enda Kenny’s claim at the recent Michael Collins commemoration that Lenin visited Ireland at Collins’ behest has been proven to be false. However, there is an extremely slim possibility that Collins may have encountered Lenin in London.
Joe Good, a veteran of the 1916 Rising, who was imprisoned with Collins at Frongoch internment camp, stated in his memoir Enchanted by Dreams that both he and Collins had attended a lecture given by Lenin in London. During a debate with Collins about economics Good, a Londoner, boasted that he had met Lenin in London. “I joked that some famous economist had spoken to me. I did not say it was a lecture Lenin had given in London ... To my surprise Mick had also been at the same lecture. The Clonakilty lad had certainly got around.”
The likelihood is that Collins did not attend the lecture, and that he was simply blustering to win the debate with Good.
Kenny’s bizarre claim that Michael Collins brought Lenin from the Soviet Union to Ireland during the Russian Civil War to see how the National Loan worked raises serious questions about An Taoiseach’s grasp of Irish, and world, history. This begs the question — are we to be led into the forthcoming ‘decade of centenaries’ by politicians who have little knowledge of, or apparent interest in, our history, except to the extent that it can be distorted or, in this case invented, to suit modern political purposes?
Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc
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