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Origin and Scope

The Military Service Pensions Collection (MSPC) owes its origins to the decision of the Oireachtas of Saorstát Éireann in June 1923 to recognize and compensate wounded members, and the widows, children and dependents of deceased members, of Óglaigh na hÉireann including the National Army, the Irish Volunteers, and the Irish Citizen Army through the payment of allowances and gratuities. Over time, provision was enhanced and broadened to include members of the Hibernian Rifles, Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann and certain members of the Connaught Rangers.

Grand Hotel, Omeath, county Louth.
Grand Hotel, Omeath, county Louth. Caption on reverse reads -Turlough McNeill- 18 Pounder at Grand Hotel, Omeath, Co. Louth, August 1922. (Turlough not in photo). Featuring Lieutenant Tim Coughlan (second from left). (Reference: IE/MA/PC/0014 (11))

Legislation was introduced, commencing in 1924 and continuing in 1934 and 1949, to recognize the service of veterans from Easter Week, 1916 through to the 30 September 1923, who were proven to have had active service during the week commencing 23 April 1916, and in the War of Independence and the Civil War, through the payment of service pensions.

Two streams of legislation are relevant to the material in the collection:

  • The Army Pensions Acts from 1923 to 1953
  • The Military Service Pensions Acts, 1924, 1934 and 1949.

The Army Pensions Acts dealt with wounded participants and deceased participants’ dependents, and the Military Service Pensions Acts dealt with surviving participants who could prove active service.

Various pieces of legislation generated applications from those considering themselves eligible for gratuities, allowances or pensions. Applicants were assessed by the Department of Defence, a board of assessors or advisory committee as established under the relevant legislation, and were deemed successful or not.

Notice issued to John Mallin
Notice issued to John Mallin (brother of executed 1916 leader Michael Mallin) of requirement to appear before the Divisional Justices of the Dublin Metropolitan Police Courts to answer the charge, under Regulation 9E of the Defence of the Realm Regulations, and in contravention of the Order of the Chief Secretary of Ireland of 28 November 1916, of participating in an illegal military drill or exercise on 14 October 1917. Reference: IE/MA/MSPC/MSP34REF13690 - John Mallin.

Supporting material was gathered by the assessors and advisory committee in the course of their work, to aid them in determining the accuracy of applicants’ accounts of their service. These include membership rolls of the organisations involved (reference code RO/) and reports of activities (reference code A/) carried out by the military formations and units of the relevant organisations, providing detailed information on the course of events during the time period.

Another major part of the collection comprises the award of medals to veterans of the Easter Rising 1916 and of the War of Independence. A total of 68,896 such medals had been issued by 31 January 1988. Departmental files from the Department of Defence bearing on the establishment and administration of the schemes are also included in the collection.