Thursday 16 January 2014

Irish Military Pensions Collection: formal launch notes

Following the online arrival of Phase 1 of the Irish Military Pensions Collection at lunchtime (see earlier blogpost), the official launch took place this evening. Details of the formalities are below, but here's a quickie summary of the additional information to emerge:
  1. Phase 2 doesn't seem to be coming any time soon.
  2. It will be some years before the entire collection is in the public domain.
  3. Not all of the material will be online.
  4. The Archives facility at Cathal Brugha Barracks will be improved to accommodate researchers who have to visit in person to view the offline releases
The launch formalities were conducted by An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, at the GPO in O'Connell Street, Dublin. He described the Military Service Pension Archive project as a cornerstone of the Government's Decade of Centenaries 2012-2022 Commemorative Programme and said the online archive was "bringing the era to life for a new generation... and honours the memory of those who lived and served their country during this defining period in Irish history."

Minister for Defence, Alan Shatter, TD, also spoke. He said the Military Service Pension Collection is one of the last and largest pieces of the archival jigsaw relating to Ireland's revolutionary period in the lead up to independence. "The Collection records the personal commitment and sacrifice by those men and women who shouldered the task of gaining independence for this country. These records provide a window into every parish and townland in the country and the activities undertaken by ordinary people pursuing the ambition of nationhood."

He said that future releases of material from the Irish Military Service Pensions Collection will take place over the next few years. "But not all of this material will be available online. Visits to the Military Archives will be required."

He then announced that funding had been provided for a new Military Archive facility. "This will be provided over the next few years as part of the Government's Decade of Commemorations programme. A design team is in place. When completed, it will provide improved facilities for the viewing of this and the other material held in the Military Archives."

Update 17 January: The video below gives an excellent overview of the collection, its importance, scope and contents and how it was conserved.