Message from The Chairman – 2015

Introduction

Acknowledging that military heritage is common to the different political and religious traditions on the island, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG), as a voluntary and non-profit organisation, advances an all-Ireland, cross border, non-denominational and non-political approach to military heritage and the story of the Irish Soldier.

Since its establishment in 1999, the Trust’s Membership is drawn from the different traditions in Ireland, and a variety of backgrounds including business, public service, military service, academia, archivists, historians, students, researchers and the general public.

As Chairman, I wish to extend a sincere welcome to our new Members who joined since the 2014 Annual General Meeting. Membership enhances the influence of the Trust, provides the unique opportunity to be part of the network of people who care about the preservation of Ireland’s military heritage for future generations, and funds the Trust’s activities including research.

I would like to take this opportunity of conveying my personnel appreciation to all Directors and Members for their continuous commitment to the Trust.  As you are aware, all Members of the Trust, including its Directors, Company Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Legal Adviser, are volunteers.

In the same vein, I would like to acknowledge the support the Trust receives from the Department of Defence, the National Museum of Ireland, the Defence Forces – Óglaigh na hÉireann, Museums, Regimental Associations and Veteran Associations.

From the Trust’s perspective, the last twelve months have been very active, resulting in measurable outputs. An insight into the Trust’s activities is provided below. 

Governance

As a Company limited by Guarantee and not having a Share Capital, the Trust implements the provisions of appropriate legislation, including the Companies Acts 1963 to 1999, and the Trust’s Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Directors’ Report and Annual Audited accounts for 2014 will be formally presented at the 15th Annual General Meeting on the 26 May, and will be made available to the Revenue Commissioners on request. As a voluntary body, the Trust is not engaged in commercial activities.

During its September meeting, the Board approved the Trust’s Data Protection Policy which was subsequently posted on the Web Site. Internal Operating Procedures to give effect to this policy were approved during the November meeting.  These procedures prescribe for an Annual Internal Audit on Data Protection. The Annual Internal Audit for the period ended
31 December 2014 was noted by the Directors during its February 2015 meeting.

In order to comply with best practice as a Charitable Trust, Annual Financial Statements will be posted on the Web Site – the process commenced with the posting of the 2013 report.

Activities

Since the 2014 Annual General Meeting, the activities of the Trust included: Directors’ Meetings; liaising with museums, veterans associations and regimental associations, and participating in lectures and seminars.

The Trust had an active involvement in the National Day of Commemoration in July 2014, and hosted a lunch in the Master’s Quarters of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, for Northern Ireland attendees, which is funded by the Department of An Taoiseach.

The Combined Regiments Association held its Annual Commemorative Parade and Remembrance Service at the Cenotaph in London, on Sunday 15 June, 2014.   The Trust’s Chairman, as one of the Inspecting Officers, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph, took the salute and addressed the Parade. On Saturday 14 June, the Chairman had the honour of addressing the Leinster Regiment Association’s Annual Dinner.

At the invitation of the French Ambassador, H.E. Jean-Pierre Thenault, the Chairman paid a courtesy call on 18 July, 2014, resulting in a fruitful dialogue which focused on an exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. The Chairman took the opportunity of enhancing the Ambassador’s extensive understanding of the Trust. In exchange, the Ambassador outlined his country’s strong intent to highlight the Irish soldier’s involvement in French military history down through the ages.

The Chairman and Mr Lar Joye – Trust Director made Presentations and participated in a Panel Discussion on Military Heritage hosted by the Irish Defence Forces Officers Club, in the Hibernian Club on 18 September.

The Chairman formally launched a publication titled “Reveille” in Collins Barracks on 19 November. Reveille – “Telling Ireland’s Military Story”, provides the greater public an opportunity to enhance their knowledge and appreciation of military service and the story of the Irish Soldier.

The Trust was represented at events such as: National Day of Commemoration, Wreath Laying Service at National War Memorial Gardens, Parnell Summer School, Tipperary Remembrance Trust’s Annual Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony, Armistice Day Ceremonies, Ecumenical Service of Remembrance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Lecture Series, Presentation of the Legion of Honour to Sub Lt Michael d’Alton, Unveiling of Commemorative VC Paving Stones, and the Easter Sunday Commemoration.

Military Heritage Annual Award

In advancing military heritage, the Trust promotes the study of Irish military history, in particular, the study of Irish men and women in the profession of arms both at home and overseas, irrespective of the Theatre of Operations, National Flag or Regimental Colour.

During its meeting of 24 February, the Trust’s Directors announced the 2014 winner of the Military Heritage Annual Award in memory of Major Charlie Trainor MM. The Board selected Ms Caitlín White’s paper titled “An Irishwoman Abroad? The Truth of Kit Cavenaugh” for the 2014 award. Ms White is a MA student of the National University of Ireland Galway. Her paper can be accessed on the Trust’s Website. Ms White will be presented with her award following the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 26 May.

The Directors formally acknowledge the involvement of Dr Pádraic Lenihan NUI Galway for overseeing the notification and submission process, and the three Judges – Professor Keith Jeffrey – Queens University, Doctor Ian Speller – NUI Maynooth, and Professor Eunan O’Halpin – Trinity College.

The Trust will endeavour to have the winning paper published in a appropriate periodicals such as History Ireland and the Defence Forces Review. Entries for the 2015 Award should be submitted by 30 September 2015.

Web Site

During its September 2014 meeting, the Board of Directors formally launched the Trust’s redesigned Web Site. The project, which commenced in February, was implemented by the Trust’s Web Master Sergeant Michael Burke, with software kindly provided, without cost, from civilian resources by Lieutenant-Colonel S. McNamara, both from the Defence Forces CIS Corps.

By means of the Web Site and posted News Bulletins, the Trust endeavours to enhance public knowledge of its vision, mission, objectives, activities, current projects, military heritage and upcoming events.

The Web Site provides guidance for the research of military heritage. The Web Site also advises on how to access information regarding military service. Finally, the site facilitates links with Web Sites associated with Ireland’s military heritage.

The redesigned Web Site includes a user friendly search engine facility, improved research facilities and maximises the usage of social media assets. In addition, the software enables the posting of a comprehensive calendar of events falling within the Trust’s remit. The Calendar software facilitates the posting of appropriate details and a location map for each event.

All items posted on the Web Site, such as News Bulletins and Events, are captured on Facebook and the Trust’s Twitter account. Concurrently, they are circulated to our Facebook and Twitter Followers. The Twitter tag is @militaryheritag

By means of Flickr, the Web Site’s Media Gallery facilitates the posting of a limitless number of photographs on the site. The account now has 32 Albums including recent events which took place in Glasnevin and at the GPO on Easter Sunday 2015.

The Home Page contains hyper links for the complete site, identifying key areas that receive higher priority by means of logos or graphics. The Home Page also has a direct link with Century Ireland, the online historical newspaper providing information on Irish life 100 years ago and which is the main online portal for the Decade of Centenaries.

During 2014, thirty five News Bulletins were posted on the Web Site and details of ninety six events were inserted on the Web Site Calendar. In the same period, thirty three military heritage queries were received through the Web Site. In the last quarter of 2014, 1,574 individuals accessed the Web Site, 77.40% were new visitors and 22.60% were returning visitors.

The Directors invites observations and recommendations on its redesigned Web Site which can be accessed at: www.militaryheritage.ie

Military Service Information

Through its Web Site and Contact Information, the Trust actively assists families, researchers and students throughout Ireland and worldwide world, to access information on the military service of relatives, friends and individuals.

For example, during 2014, queries were received from Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, on a vast range of issues such as the Leinster Regiment and the Royal Irish Horse in the First World War, the Connaught Rangers in 1922, Irish Recruitment 1900 – 1914, Royal Flying Corps – Oranmore and Castlebar Airfields, 3 Battalion Royal Irish Regiment Causalities 1916, List of Boot Suppliers – Early 19th Century, and Limerick Militia 1856.

Room of Reflection

The Trust’s Directors remain actively engaged in exploring the feasibility of establishing a Room of Reflection, reflecting Ireland’s shared military heritage, in a suitable location, subject to appropriate permission and the availability of finances to support the project.

Decade of Centenaries

In the context of the Decade of Centenaries, the Trust retains liaison with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, the Government’s Expert Advisory Group, the Glasnevin Trust, the Defence Forces and other appropriate Government Departments, agencies and organisations.

The Trust remains proactive in participating in appropriate activities associated with the Decade of Centenaries.

Commemorative Victoria Cross Paving Stones

As part of the Decade of Centenaries, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, with the support of the Irish Government, commissioned Commemorative Paving Stones for all 24 recipients of the Victoria Cross during the First World War, born in the Republic of Ireland. As the First World War predates Partition, the appropriate authorities in Northern Ireland have received 8 Paving Stones, for those listed as been born in what is now Northern Ireland.

The Chairman remains engaged with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, the Glasnevin Trust, numerous communities, associations and individuals on the subject of the Commemorative Paving Stones. The programme associated with the Paving Stones envisages that a commemoration will take place on the anniversary of the historic action for which each Victoria Cross was awarded.

Restoration of Military Cemetery Arbour Hill

In March, the Chairman engaged with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht concerning plans to restore the 1916 Memorial to meet the 2016 commemoration deadline, and the possible restoration and relocation of the 163 Headstones, resting on the Eastern Boundary Wall of the Military Cemetery, which will be conducted within a timeframe of 12 to 18 months, and is not confined to the commemoration deadline

The Trust facilitated an exploration meeting in Arbour Hill on 25 March 2015 to inform the restoration and relocation process. In addition to the Trust’s Chairman, Secretary and Assistant Secretary, the attendance included: Ms Rebecca McKeon (Office of Public Works), Major-General David O’Morchoe (President of the Royal British Legion and Trust Director), Mr George McCullough (Glasnevin Trust) and Mr Patrick Lynch (Department of Arts Heritage and Gaeltacht).

On 15 April, the Chairman provided the Office of Public Works with a Food for Thought Paper which may be of benefit in the Planning Process.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Trust’s Directors are currently focussing on the establishment of a Room of Reflection, active involvement in the Decade of Centenaries, enhancing partnerships with stakeholders such as Museums and Regimental Associations, increasing student’s involvement in the Military Heritage Annual Award, consolidating membership, and through its redesigned Web Site, promulgate the latest news and lists of events, and further develop the support provided for research.

I look forward to working with all Directors, our Company Secretary, Legal Adviser and Auditors, in further advancing the Trust’s objectives, in order to promote and preserve Ireland’s unique military heritage for future generations.

Finally, I will welcome the opportunity of engaging with members of the Trust during the 15th Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 26 May, at 1430 hours, in the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks Dublin. Professor Mary E. Daly, President Royal Irish Academy, Professor of History UCD, and Member of the Government’s Expert Advisory Group on Commemorations, has kindly accepted an invitation to be our Guest Speaker.

Brigadier-General Paul A. Pakenham (Retd)

Chairman

May 2015

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