President pays his respects as archives open
Published 27/04/2016 | 02:30
President Michael D Higgins paid respect to writer and activist Francis Sheehy Skeffington as he opened the new Military Archives Buildings in Cathal Brugha Barracks.
He told the crowd that Cathal Brugha holds a "very important place" in the Irish psyche, as it is both a "site of extra-judicial executions that symbolise the worst kind of arbitrary rule; and, today, as the repository of crucial records of our past".
The Military Archives Buildings houses the records of the Irish Defence Forces, the Department of Defence and the Army Pensions Board.
Documents, witness statements and accounts of the Easter Rising fill 21.6km of shelving.
More than €5.5 million was spent on developing the building to protect the documents.
Earlier this month, the Military Archives acquired Brother Allen's Library Archival Collection - which includes an original copy of the 1916 Proclamation, as well as the letter Patrick Pearse sent to his mother before his execution.
One of the first conserved documents to be filed in the archives is a statement made by Eamon Thomas Dore in 1941, as he looked to claim a military pension for his work as a volunteer during Easter 1916. Dore told how he transported munitions from volunteers in Belfast to Dublin despite only being sent to the north as a decoy, because he was being followed by British soldiers.
He returned as the GPO was being bombarded by the "big guns" the British had deployed.