Ministers Coveney and Humphreys review progress with Military Archives Building Project
as a listing of 2,558 veterans of Easter Week 1916 is made available online
This afternoon the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney TD, and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Heather Humphreys TD, visited Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin in order to view the considerable progress that has been made on the expansion of the existing Military Archives facilities which is one of the key capital projects that is being funded as part of the Government’s 2016 Centenary Programme. Their visit today also coincided with the publication on the Military Archives website of a listing of 2,558 veterans of the 1916 Easter Rising with recognised military service. This listing is now available online through the Military Archives website (www.militaryarchives.ie).
The new Military Archives facilities, which are on track to be completed by the end of this year, includes a new building for the storage of archival material, including the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC), and the refurbishment of an adjoining building which will house visitor facilities, including a reading room for research of the records held in the facility and a conservation laboratory for the preservation of documents and artefacts.
Having reviewed the progress on the new building, Minister Coveney said “I’m delighted to be accompanied by my colleague Minister Humphreys today to report that progress is on track for the official opening of these enhanced facilities in 2016 as part of the 2016 Centenary Programme. This is a new and exciting development and is a one of the seven flagship capital projects that are being funded by the Government. On site visits such as this not only provide an update on the progress of the project, they also allow us the opportunity to reflect on the importance and significance that this facility will have for current and future generations who wish to learn about the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice to establish our State”.
Speaking in relation to the online release today, for the first time, of the listing of the names and addresses of the 2,558 veterans of Easter Week 1916, Minister Coveney stated: “Today is a very significant milestone in our understanding and historical appreciation of the identity of the men and women, from many different backgrounds, who lit the spark at Easter 1916 which a short time later led to the formation of a resurgent revolutionary movement that ultimately led to the War of Independence. This reveals that the Easter Rising was more of a countrywide rebellion than may have previously been understood and that perhaps the state of open and general warfare that was the scene in Dublin has, to a certain extent, overshadowed the role of those who also provided active service outside of the capital.”
Minister Heather Humphreys said: “The Military Archives are one of the State’s most important sources of information for the 1916 Rising and the revolutionary period in general. The newly developed archival facilities and research room in Cathal Brugha Barracks will provide members of the public with greater access to the original records, to complement the fantastic work already done on releasing collections online on militaryarchives.ie. The capacity of the research room will be more than doubled, providing a wonderful opportunity to access original first-hand accounts of the events of the Easter Rising, and much more besides. This will allow the vast Military Archive collections to be consolidated in one space, and to be maintained and conserved in accordance with best international standards, ensuring that this wonderful resource will be available to all for many years to come. The redevelopment of the Military Archives is one of seven major capital projects being developed as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. These projects will leave us with permanent reminders, which I hope will provide a tangible legacy which will last at least another 100 years”.
NOTE FOR EDITORS
The Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC) project is a joint Department of Defence and Defence Forces contribution to the Decade of Centenaries. The project is mandated to release the files and records of the Department of Defence dealing with the service of members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, the Hibernian Rifles, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann and the Irish Republican Army from the period April 1916 to the 30th of September 1923. This involves cataloguing and partially digitising nearly 300,000 files. There have been two releases of information from the Collection to date, and a third release is planned for later this year. The alphabetic listing of names, addresses and file references has been compiled by the Department of Defence’s project team which is cataloguing and partially digitising the Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC), in the custody of the Military Archives.
The listing comprises veterans of the organisations operating at the time and with recognised military service during the Easter Rising. Their active service is certified through the investigation process set up under the Army Pension Acts, 1923 to 1973 and the Military Service Pensions Acts, 1924, 1934 and 1949. Qualifying veterans or their dependents were awarded service pensions, allowances, wound pensions or gratuities which automatically included the award of the 1916 Medal. In addition, 129 veterans who did not apply for pensions or allowances, but were found to be qualified for same if they had done so, were awarded the 1916 Medal. In all, 2,558 veterans are listed. The files of 2,405 of these 1916 veterans were published online via http://www.militaryarchives.ie/en/collections/online-collections/military-service-pensions-collection when the first two releases of material from the Collection occurred in 2014. The files of a further 24 veterans awarded service pensions or allowances will be released online later this year when the third release takes place, and the medal award files of the remaining 129 veterans will be available for research from April 2016.
Ireland 2016 is the State Centenary Programme to remember 1916, to reflect on the Republic 100 years on, and to re-imagine our future. It is a once in a century invitation to people of all ages, at home and overseas, to participate in a diverse range of historical, cultural and artistic activities, all designed to facilitate reflection, commemoration, celebration, debate and analysis, and an active re-imagining of our future. The Programme is built on seven strands: State Ceremonial, Historical Reflection, An Teanga Bheo, Youth and Imagination, Cultural Expression, Community Participation and Global and Diaspora. Further information on Ireland 2016 is available at www.ireland.ie
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