Northern Ireland

Easter Rising and War of Independence IRA pension records released

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Media captionThe records from the Easter Rising and War of Independence are available to view online

Military pension records of those who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising and Irish War of Independence have been made available to the public online.

They include 300,000 files relating to 60,000 individuals who received some form of the old IRA pension.

It was launched by the taoiseach (Irish prime minister) on Thursday evening.

Enda Kenny said the online project "honours the memory of those who lived and served their country during this defining period in Irish history".

The release of the documents marks part of the Irish government's Centenary Commemoration Programme, marking the turbulent events that led to war and the partition of Ireland in 1921.

The archive was launched at the GPO (General Post Office) in Dublin, the building that Irish rebels used as their headquarters during the Easter Rising in April 1916.

'Sacrifice'

The files include statements by commanders detailing what each person did to merit a pension.

Mr Kenny said: "As well as bringing the era to life for a new generation, this online archive will provide a great resource for those already interested in the period."

The Irish Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence, Alan Shatter, told guests at the launch: "The collection records the personal commitment and sacrifice by those men and women who shouldered the task of gaining independence for this country.

"The release of these records to researchers will transform the scholarship of the period, and provide Irish people at home and abroad with fascinating and copious information about their ancestors who played a part in the establishment of independent Ireland."

Executed

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Image caption Much of Dublin's inner city centre was destroyed during the rebellion in April 1916

The Easter Rising was a brief, violent insurrection that began in Dublin on Easter Monday, 24 April 1916.

It cost the lives of 450 people - more than half of whom were civilians - and resulted in widespread destruction of much of the Irish capital's inner city.

The rebellion was defeated by the British forces within days, but the event is widely viewed as the catalyst for the Irish War of Independence two years later, which was followed by the partition of Ireland and the establishment of an Irish free state.

Fifteen rebel leaders who survived the fighting were executed by the British in the aftermath of the rising.

The Irish War of Independence was fought between 1919 and 1921.

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