The Brigade Activity Reports provide listings of IRA operations and activities with the names of participants included. In general the files cover the period between 1 April 1920 and 11 July 1921 – the height of the War of Independence. However a small number of files contain information regarding Irish Volunteer and IRA activities going back, not only to the mobilisations at the time of the 1916 Easter Rising, but to the formation of the Irish Volunteers in late 1913 and early 1914, and forward to the end of the Civil War in 1923. The files are not a definitive listing of IRA operations during the Independence struggle. A number of IRA companies and units do not appear in the Activity File series at all. There are also inconsistencies in terms of the activities and events covered in the series as the quality and quantity of information provided both between different brigades and between individual units of particular brigades can vary somewhat.
However these files do contain a wealth of fascinating and important information relating to the IRA during the Revolutionary period. Not only in relation to the vast majority of major or high profile IRA operations and ambushes carried out between 1919 and 1921, but also to the essential support work essential to maintaining the IRA campaign such as intelligence work, the trenching and blocking of roads, scouting, carrying despatches and the caring for and storing arms. Such was the value of the series that it came to be heavily relied on by the various Referees and Advisory Committee and Board of Assessors’ members who operated the service pension legislation between 1934 and 1958. They have also been regularly referred to as tools for adjudicating service medal applications up to the present day. As an individual file series and taken in conjunction with the rest of the MSPC, they provide a formidable and essential resource for any researcher or academic interested in the revolutionary period.