Second on line launch of material from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection at Cathal Brugha Barracks
by the Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D.
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Simon Coveney, T.D., launched the second release on line of material from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin this afternoon. This event was part of the National Commemorative Programme, co-ordinated by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Ms. Heather Humphreys, T.D.
The Military Service Pensions Collection is a key project under the Government Decade of Centenaries 2012-2022 Commemorative programme and the Collection numbers almost 300,000 application files for pensions, allowances and medals as well as supporting documentation. The Collection provides a unique record of the individuals and organisations that brought about Independence and led to the foundation of the State.
This release follows the first online release of material from the Collection which was launched by the Taoiseach in the GPO in January, 2014. Files included in this launch relate to over 1,100 veterans of the period from Easter Week 1916 to the end of the Civil War in 1923.
In launching the release of material on line, the Minister said
“The Collection is an invaluable source detailing the personal details and the social background of the rank and file veterans, the leadership of the independence movement, as well as the societal circumstances of the time.
In relation to the individuals’ stories emerging from this release, the Minister added
“The tragedy of the Civil War period is also laid bare with many records dealing with casualties and the plight of the families on both sides”.
Future releases of material from the Military Service Pensions Collection will take place over the coming years. The material is available at www.militaryarchives.ie.
Note for Editors
The Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection
The Department of Defence, as part of the Government Centenary Commemoration programme, is cataloguing and partially digitising the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions files, in the custody of the Military Archives. The entire Collection comprises some 300,000 files generated as a result of applications for:
· service pensions from veterans involved in the Easter Rising, the War of Independence and the Civil War,
· allowances from the dependants of those killed on active service or from those wounded or incapacitated while on duty during the period and
· the award of the 1916 Medal and The Service (1917-1921) Medal.
In all some 85,000 veterans applied to the Department of Defence, many of whose files will be available online in the run up to centenary of the 1916 Rising in 2016.
A phased release of material into the public domain is planned. The first launch of the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC) which took place in January of this year comprised in excess of 10,000 files relating to 3,200 individuals who were members of the Irish Volunteers, The Citizen Army, the Hibernian Rifles, the Irish Republican Army, Cumann na mBan, Na Fianna Éireann or The National Army during the period 1916 to 1923 and who were awarded service pensions or allowances. 2,400 of these are 1916 veterans.
This release consists of files relating to over 1,100 veterans of the period 1916-1923 including 10 veterans of Easter Week, notably Sean MacDermott, William Stains and Sean Furlong. Successful pension application files relating to the senior officers of the IRA in service during the War of Independence and Civil War are also included as is the pension application file and a surviving intelligence file for Denis “Sonny” O’Neill. There are also a number of significant Cumann na mBan files including Kathleen O’Connell who was secretary to Eamon de Valera.
The project is overseen by a Steering Group comprising representatives of the Department of Defence and the Defence Forces, the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and the National Archives.
The Academic Advisory Committee to the project consists of historians Professor Charles Townshend, Professor Eunan O’Halpin and Professor Diarmaid Ferriter.
A team of archivists is in place and work on the project is progressing at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin.
The Government has made funds available over the period 2014-2016 under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2022 Commemorative arrangements to improve access and facilities for Military Archives at Cathal Brugha Barracks, Rathmines, Dublin 6.
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