Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection - Online launch of the latest release of material

Extract from Military Service Application of Michael Giffney, originally of Ashford, Co. Wicklow
Image by kind permission of the Giffney family

The Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney, T.D. launched the latest release of material from the Military Service (1916-1923) Pensions Collection online.   This latest release of records is the ninth release of material and comprises of 3,383 new files representing 1,170 individuals.  This includes applications for service pensions and applications under the Army Pensions Acts linked to disability pensions.

In launching this latest release of material online, the Minister said “It gives me great pleasure to make further historical records available to the public through the continued scanning and digitisation of records contained in the Military Service Pensions Collection.  This latest release of material, along with previous releases, provides an invaluable source of information that continues to greatly facilitate research around this defining period in Irish history, and captures first-hand accounts of individuals that participated in events of that period.”

Wicklow applications

The ninth release of material is now available to view on and there are 11 Wicklow pension applications among them, including Wicklow T.D. Christopher Michael Byrne (C.M. Byrne) and author Sean Ó Faoláin:

  • Byrne, Christopher, Ballykillavane, Glenealy Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF39039)
  • Byrne, John, Lower Street, Rathdrum Wicklow (Ref. 24SP10467)
  • Byrne, Martin, Dispensary Lane, Wicklow Wicklow (Ref. 4P20)
  • Cooney, Thomas, Kilcandra, Rathnew Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF42328)
  • Cullen, Joseph, 2 Diamond Cottages, Dargle Road, Bray Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF60327)
  • Doyle, Thomas, Rathnew Green, Rathnew Wicklow (Ref. 4P561)
  • Esmonde, William, The Green, Dunlavin Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF40640)
  • Harte, Patrick, Hartstown, Baltinglass Wicklow (Ref. 24SP6681)
  • Killeen, Peter, Ballinacor, Avoca Wicklow (Ref. 4P500)
  • Kirwan, Thomas, Uppertown, Dunlavin Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF44810)
  • Ó Faoláin, Seán, Killough House, Kilmacanogue Wicklow (Ref. MSP34REF49115).

Origins and scope of the collection

The archives contained within the Military Service Pensions Collection were once active administrative files generated through legislation enacted by the newly formed Saorstát Éireann from June 1923. In post-conflict conditions, various legal acts were sanctioned to compensate members of certain organisations and their widows, children and dependents. Over time, legislation was enhanced and broadened to include more veterans, including the members of Cumann na mBan.

Two streams of legislation are relevant for the Military Services Pensions Collection:

  • The Army Pensions Acts, from 1923 to 1953: dealing with the wounded participants and deceased participants’ dependents.
  • The Military Service Pensions Acts, 1924, 1934, 1949: dealing with the surviving participants who could prove active service.

Applicants were assessed by the Army Pensions Board, a Board of Assessors and later by a Referee and an Advisory Committee. The files are the result of the verification process and contain material submitted by the applicants in respect of their claims.  A Guide to the Military Service Pensions Collection is available to download on

There are 179 files bearing the address of County Wicklow in the full collection to date.  To learn more about the activities of an individual, the Bureau of Military History Witness Statements is a rich and useful resource also and could be used in conjunction with the pension files.

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