Defence Forces soldier recovering after collapsing during Taoiseach's Michael Collins speech
"These sorts of incidents can occur at ceremonial events where Defence Forces personnel are standing to attention for prolonged periods of time."
An Irish Defence Forces soldier is recovering after appearing to faint and collapse during a televised speech by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Sunday (21 August).
A ceremony to mark the centenary of the death of Michael Collins took place in Béal na Bláth in Cork on Sunday afternoon, with the Defence Forces in attendance to help commemorate the historic Irish revolutionary.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin was also present, delivering a speech in honour of Collins. During his address, which was broadcast on RTÉ, a Defence Forces soldier positioned behind the Taoiseach visibly collapsed and fell to the ground.
Following a brief pause, the soldier was attended to by his colleagues and applauded by the onlooking crowd before the Taoiseach resumed his speech.
Over 10,000 people attended the ceremony.
As of Monday morning, the soldier is recovering and is said to be in good condition.
"I can confirm that the soldier in question is okay and did not suffer any injuries," a Defence Forces spokesperson told JOE.
"These sorts of incidents can occur at ceremonial events where Defence Forces personnel are standing to attention for prolonged periods of time, and as yesterday, in very warm conditions."
Members of Óglaigh na hÉireann were proud to participate in today's commemoration to mark the centenary of the death of General Michael Collins at Béal na Bláth today.
Link to Flikr album:https://t.co/KdMh8ZBh7E pic.twitter.com/OgOR3GEcL0
— Óglaigh na hÉireann (@defenceforces) August 21, 2022
Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald aimed a broadside at the specifically political nature of the event, which also saw Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney involved.
"Michael Collins is a giant of Irish revolutionary struggle," McDonald wrote on Twitter.
"He deserves commemoration and respect from all. Having broadcast a live Fianna Fáil / Fine Gael event, I assume that RTÉ will also broadcast a Sinn Féin event as we mark and remember other Republican revolutionary leaders this year?"
Fine Gael's celebration of Michael Collins is also manifesting in a somewhat unexpected way; the party is teaming up with Omniplex cinemas to screen Neil Jordan's 1996 film on Collins in 19 cinemas across the country.
Michael Collins is a giant of Irish revolutionary struggle. He deserves commemoration & respect from all. Having broadcast live a FF/FG event I assume that @rte will also broadcast a SF event as we mark and remember other Republican revolutionary leaders this year?
— Mary Lou McDonald (@MaryLouMcDonald) August 21, 2022
Images via RTÉ Player