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Tánaiste Launches ‘A Very Hard Struggle – Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection’

Tánaiste and Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin TD, launched new book ‘A Very Hard Struggle – Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection’ at the home of the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin.

The book is the third in a collection, complementing the previous publications, ‘Guide to the Collection’ published in 2012 and ‘The Brigade Activity Reports’ in 2019. It is edited by Professor Anne Dolan, Associate Professor of Modern Irish History at Trinity College Dublin, and Catriona Crowe, former Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland.

‘A Very Hard Struggle – Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection’ is available to download on www.militaryarchives.ie while hard copies are available free of charge from the Military Archives in Cathal Brugha Barracks.

In addition to the book launch, the Tánaiste announced the latest release of material from the Military Service Pensions Collection (1916-1923) online. The release comprises of over 2,200 files representing records relating to 863 individuals.

Taking into account all the MSPC file series, over 121,900 files have now been catalogued and approximately 80,200 are now fully digitised.

Speaking at the book launch, the Tánaiste said, “it is an honour to launch this book A Very Hard Struggle– Lives in the Military Service Pensions Collection. This book demonstrates perfectly that while the collection shows evidence of the shared experience of a whole generation, each file comes with its very specific set of individual circumstances. They enable us to look beyond the lists and access a window on each individual’s story as they navigated the many uncertainties of life.”

The overall collection is a critical source for the history of twentieth-century Ireland as a whole. This publication demonstrates the potential of testing and exploring it, inviting some of the finest social, economic, political and cultural historians of modern Ireland to draw out the power of the material.

The further online release of historical records contained in the Military Service Pensions Collection is the fifteenth release of material under this project, and the second release of material this year.

This latest release of files adds to the valuable insight and to the experience of those involved in the struggle for independence. The fact that in excess of 2.5 million pages of archival material is now available online presents the public with further opportunities to research information about their ancestors and their community during the period leading up to the establishment of Irish independence.”

The release of material is now available to view on www.militaryarchives.ie

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