Guide to The Military Service (1916 — 1923) Pensions Collection (MSPC)

IRA flying column, County Galway (undated). Original is held with copy photographs featuring a close up of each member of the column, some named,

The MSPC owes its origins to the decision of the Oireachtas of Saorstát Éireann in June 1923 to provide for the payment of allowances and gratuities to wounded/disabled members and the dependents of veterans of the National Army; including members of the Irish Volunteers, the Irish Citizen Army, the Hibernian Rifles, Na Fianna Eireann, Cumann na mBan and members of Oglaigh na hEireann/Irish Republican Army who had been wounded or were casualties while on active service variously during the period from April and May 1916 to 30 September 1923.

Further legislation was introduced under the Military Service Pensions Acts of 1924, 1934 and 1949 to provide for the payment of service pensions and allowances to surviving veterans of the organisations mentioned earlier, and including Cumann Na mBan from 1934, who could prove “active service” during the period from Easter Week 1916 to 30 September 1923. Provision was also made for the payment of pensions and allowances to certain members of the Connaught Rangers under the Connaught Rangers (Pensions) Act, 1936.

The decision to afford wider public access to the MSPC was announced in 2006 by the then Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., in the context of the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Following on from that decision, the Military Service Pensions Project was established and four archivists commenced work on the collection in June 2008. The project is overseen by a steering committee chaired by the Department of An Taoiseach and including representatives from the Department of Defence, the Defence Forces, the National Archives and the Military Archives.

The work of the Military Service Pensions Project and the Steering committee is ongoing and the collection will be released through the Military Archives in regular phases.

Phase 1 of the project is the Military Archives’ latest online collection available to researchers from mid-January 2014 through www.militaryarchives.ie. The records available online will include the pension application files from individual veterans of the Easter Rising 1916, along with various supporting records. These include the Membership rolls of the 16 Divisions of the IRA, Cumann na mBan and Na Fianna Éireann as on 11 July 1921 and 1 July 1922 and the Brigade Activities files relating to 1916 events in counties Wexford, Louth and Galway.

A range of other administration and Departmental files are also released to give context to the collection.

Download the Military Service Pensions Collection Guide