MESSAGE FROM CHAIRMAN – 2016

MESSAGE FROM CHAIRMAN – 2016

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.

During 2015, President Michael D. Higgins, Uachtarán na hÉireann, has honoured the Trust by becoming its Patron.

As Chairman, I wish to extend a sincere welcome to our new Members who joined since the 2015 Annual General Meeting. Extending our membership base to include Veterans’ Associations and Museums, I also welcome those Associations and Museums whose representatives were elected as members of the Trust. 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, 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 the Taoiseach, the Department of Defence, the National Museum of Ireland and the Defence Forces – Óglaigh na hÉireann.

Regretfully, in the last 12 months, the Trust mourned the loss of Major-General P.F. Nowlan RIP and Professor Keith Jeffery RIP. A tribute to both, and an insight into the Trust’s prevailing activities, is provided below.

Major-General P.F. Nowlan (Retd) RIP

The Directors and all members of the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG) were shocked and deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Major-General Paddy Nowlan (Retd) RIP on 06 November, 2015. An honourable, courteous, dedicated professional, he will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by many, especially his family.

Major-General Nowlan was a highly respected founding member of the Trust, was elected its first Chairman (1999 – 2011) and remained as an active and highly respected member of the Board of Directors (1999 – 2015).

Major-General Nowlan’s experiences, service and expertise were instrumental in shaping the Trust’s ethos, vision, mission, objectives and membership. His enduring legacy ensures a cross border, non-denominational and non-political dimension that fully understands and appreciates the role of the Irish Soldier in Ireland’s distinctive and shared military heritage.

A Family Man, Gentleman, Soldier, Peacekeeper, Diplomat, Bridge-Builder, Historian and Colleague, may Major-General Paddy Nowlan, Rest in Peace.

Professor Keith Jeffery RIP

Tributes were paid by all quarters following the death of Professor Keith Jeffery, one of Ireland’s leading historians and a respected member of the Judge’s Panel for the Trust’s Annual Military Heritage Award. The Belfast-born academic, an expert on Irish involvement in the First World War, had retired as Professor of British History at Queen’s University Belfast in January. He passed away on 2 February, aged 64. Our thoughts are with his family, formal colleagues and friends – May he rest in peace.

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 2015 will be formally presented at the 16th Annual General Meeting on the 24 May, and will be made available to the Revenue Commissioners on request. As a voluntary body, the Trust is not engaged in commercial activities. In order to comply with best practice as a Charitable Trust, our Annual Financial Statements will be posted on the Web Site – the process commenced with the posting of the 2013 report. The Trust’s annual return to the Companies Registration Office was submitted by our Auditors in June.

The Companies Act 2014, which replaced the Companies Acts 1963 – 2013, commenced on 1 June 2015. The Trust’s annual return to the Companies Registration Office was submitted by our Auditors in June.

The reviewed procedures of registering the Trust with the Charities Regulatory Authority, was completed on line. The final part of the process entailed obtaining the signatures of all Directors on a statutory declaration form and forwarding the scanned document to the Authority’s database.  On 07 August, the Charities Regulatory Authority confirmed that the registration process was completed. Accordingly, the Trust is in full compliance with the prescribed regulations.   The registration details include: Charity Registration Number: 20041908, Governing Form: Public Limited Company, CHY Number: 13447, Establishment Country: Ireland.

The Trust’s Annual Internal Data Protection Audit for the period ended 31 December 2015 was noted by the Directors during its February 2016 meeting.

The Articles of Association prescribe, inter alia, that the Directors of the Trust shall at all times include the Deputy Chief of Staff (Support) as an Ex Officio Director. In this context, on his appointment by the President as Chief of Staff of Óglaigh na hÉireann, Vice-Admiral Mark Mellet DSM was replaced by Major-General Kevin Cotter as an Ex Officio Director. Both officers conveyed their appreciation of the Board of Directors and pledged to support the Trust within their respective competencies.

During its February 2016 meeting, the Board of Directors appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Eamonn Fogarty (Retd) as Company Secretary replacing Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Halligan (Retd) who agreed to continue supporting the Trust in the capacity as Assistant Secretary. Since 2011, Lieutenant-Colonel Tom Halligan (Retd) has executed his vast range of responsibilities as Secretary in a professional, diplomatic and competent manner. A proficient, skilled and knowledgeable administrator, his tenure of office, spanning three Chairmen, reflected significant success in advancing the Trust’s objectives.

The Board of Directors formally adopted a protocol concerning the provision of financial assistance to external actors, prescribing, inter alia that each request for financial assistance, including sponsorship, will be addressed by the Trust’s Board of Directors on a case by case basis.  Details of such cases will be presented to the Board by the Company Secretary.  The Board’s decision will be informed, inter alia, by the Trust’s prescribed objectives, its financial situation, and prevailing or future projects having a financial output, coupled with the facts that the Trust is a registered charity and that its Annual Report is submitted to the Companies Registration Authority.

Activities

Since the 2015 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 2015, 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 Trust was represented at events such as: The Salute to Waterloo, hosted by the Inniskillings Museum, National Day of Commemoration, Wreath Laying Service at National War Memorial Gardens, Annual Service of Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony, Armistice Day Ceremonies, Ecumenical Service of Remembrance at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Peace Proms in the National Convention Centre, and numerous activities associated with the Easter 1916 Commemorations.

Military Heritage Annual Award

The Trust will give an Award, ordinarily annually, of €500 to the undergraduate student whose paper is deemed outstanding by a panel of judges, and which, through new research, adds to our knowledge of Ireland’s military heritage. The title of the award is “The Military Heritage Annual Award”.

During the meeting held on 23 February, the Trust’s Board of Directors announced the 2015 winner of the Military Heritage Annual Award in memory of Major Charlie Trainor MM. The Board selected Mr Declan O’Doherty’s paper titled “An Analysis of the social Composition of the Irish Republican Army (1919 – 1921). Mr O’Doherty is a graduate of the Queens University Belfast. From Maghera, County Derry, Declan is completing his MA in History. A total of seven papers were submitted for the 2015 award. Mr O’Doherty’s paper can be accessed on the Trust’s Website.

The Directors formally acknowledged the involvement of Dr Pádraic Lenihan NUI Galway for overseeing the notification and submission process, and the three Judges – Dr Pádraic Lenihan (replacing Professor Keith Jeffery RIP for the 2015 Award), Doctor Ian Speller – NUI Maynooth, and Professor Eunan O’Halpin – Trinity College.

The 2013 and 2014 winning papers were published in the Defence Forces Review. The Trust will endeavour to have the 2015 winning paper published in the Defence Forces Review and an appropriate periodical such as History Ireland. The Directors have also endorsed the Terms of Reference for the 2016 Award. Entries for the 2016 Award should be submitted by 30 September 2016.

Web Site

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 Trust’s redesigned Web Site is professionally managed by its Webmaster Sergeant Michael Burke, Defence Forces CIS Corps.

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.

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 54 Albums including recent events associated with: 2016 Easter Sunday Commemoration Parade, the Unveiling of the Memorial Wall in Glasnevin Cemetery, Flag Raising in Dublin Castle, Presentation of Légion d’Honneur to Jackie Leslie RIP and Laying-up of the Royal Artillery Association’s Standard.

During 2015, 24 News Bulletins were posted on the Web Site and details of 78 events were inserted on the Web Site Calendar. Already in 2016, 13 News Bulletins and 68 events have posted on the Web Site’s Calendar.

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.

During 2015, 28 military heritage queries were received through the Web Site on a vast range of issues such as the Sligo Rifles 1855 – 1858, Constabulary Barracks, Mullaghroe, Co Sligo, British Army in India 1900s, Easter Rising, National Army, Connaught Rangers, Arbour Hill Cemetery Records, Gallipoli, Middle East 1917-18, Handover Curragh Camp 1922, 65th Regt at Mullingar in 1825, North Cork Militia Irish language speakers, Irish Artillery weapons, 74th Highlanders – Canada, Roger Casement, and History of Mullingar Barracks.

Whereas the Web Site was non-operational for a short period in February, during the period 01 January through 14 April 2016, 2,892 individuals, 3,380 sessions accessed the Trust’s Web Site. These included 1,784 from Ireland, 379 from the UK, 350 from Russia, 315 from the USA, 61 from Germany, 53 from Australia and 47 from Canada.  84.1% were new visitors, the remaining are returning visitors.

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. In this context, the Chairman discussed with Mr John Concannon, Director Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme matters of mutual interest, including the requirement for an appropriate balance on commemorations due to take place in 2016.   Commandant Stephan MacEoin, seconded to the Ireland 2016 Project Team, and Ms Fionnuala Callanan – Anglo Irish Division Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, briefed the Directors on the programme of events for 2016. The Trust remains proactive in participating in appropriate activities associated with the Decade of Centenaries. These include, during 2016, ceremonies marking the 1916 Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.

Room of Reflection

In view of parallel commemorative and reflective activities taking place in 2016, the Board of Directors has deferred 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.

Irish Infantry Grove

Dedicated in 2000, the Irish Infantry Grove at the National Memorial Arboretum in England, honours and commemorates soldiers who served in Irish Infantry Regiments which were disbanded in 1922.  Personnel of these Regiments served and some made the ultimate sacrifice in foreign lands such as Belgium, Burma, Canada, France, Gallipoli, India, Macedonia, Malta, Middle East, and South Africa.

The Irish Infantry Grove urgently requires rejuvenation and revival to attain the desired standards prevailing in the National Memorial Arboretum.   The Royal Irish Regimental Charities is taking the lead in the redevelopment. The redeveloped Grove will consist, inter alia, of a map of Ireland with the crests of the units placed on the location of the Depots, and a granite plinth engraved with the titles of the infantry units which existed up to 1922 and those which continued in service and evolved into the Royal Irish Regiment.

Acknowledging that Irish military heritage is common to the different political and religious traditions on the island, within its competencies the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG) is actively supporting the redevelopment project.

Second World War Veterans

Currently, the Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG) is endeavouring to make contact with surviving military personnel who served in the Second World War. The purpose is to support a commendable initiative by the renowned artist James Hanley RHA to record, for prosperity, Irish Soldiers who participated in the Second World War.

With the number of veterans diminishing, the Trust is encouraging those veterans, or their immediate families, to make contact with the Trust with the view of introducing them to Mr. Hanley.   Likewise, the Trust has invited veterans associations to support the project, such as the Royal British Legion, the Irish Guards Association, the RAF Association, the Royal Irish Regiment Association, American Legion, Irish UN Veterans Association, Organisation of Ex-servicemen and Women, Somme Association, and the Veterans Association. To date, 23 Veterans have expressed an interest in the project.

The Trust is supporting a parallel initiative concerning World War 2 Veterans, sponsored by the Somme Museum Belfast, titled “Film and Oral History”.

Regimental Silver – Disbanded Regiments

In acknowledging receipt of the Trust’s News Bulletin 1/2016, on the 05 February, Mr. Sean Murphy, former Chair of the Royal British Legion, advanced a proposal that the possibility that some of the Regimental Silver of the Disbanded Irish Regiments, currently in storage in the UK’s National Army Museum, could be placed on display, on a loan basis, in an appropriate museum in Ireland. The Trust is advancing this issue within its competencies

Information Panels – Military Cemetery Arbour Hill

On the 10 February 2016, the Trust submitted a comprehensive response to Ms Margaret Gormley, Chief Superintendent, National Historic Properties, Office of Public Works, arising from her request for Trust’s observations on proposed Information Panels, which are part of the renovation of the Military Cemetery in Arbour Hill. The Trust’s Food for Thought Paper submitted to the Office of Public Works on 13 April, 2015, formed the basis of the response. The Trust’s submission on the Information Panels was well received. During the course of subsequent correspondence, having highlighted that the renovations included work on the former Burial Ground, the Trust was advised that archaeologists were on site, supervising all remedial work.

Soundbridge – National Memorial Gardens

The Goethe-Instit Irland, in partnership with Dublin City Council and in conjunction with the Trustees of the Irish National War Memorial Gardens and the Office of Public Works, is developing a project involving the installation of a temporary sound artwork in the National Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge. Supporting the initiative, the Trust is facilitating a request to provide individuals to record the names prescribed on the Memorial Rolls.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Trust’s Directors are currently focussing on activities associated with 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 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 16th Annual General Meeting, scheduled for 24 May, at 1430 hours, in the Lecture Theatre, National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks Dublin. Mr Philip Orr, Historian, Author and Chair of Mediation Northern Ireland has kindly accepted an invitation to be our Guest Speaker. His subject is “Inclusive Memory and the Decade of Centenaries”.


Brigadier-General Paul A. Pakenham (Retd)

Chairman

April 2016