An Cosantóir

April 2012

An Cosantóir the official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces.

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archives | 11 KeePINg The PaST ALIVE M BY WESLEY BOURKE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ARMN NEVILLE COUGHLAN ilitary Archives, based in Cathal Brugha Bks, has pictures, documents and records dating back to the foundation of the Irish Volunteers in 1913, as well as architectural maps and drawings of barracks dating from the mid-19th century. It houses thousands of boxes compris- ing hundreds of collections covering everything from action reports in the Civil War to personal diaries from the 1970s. While it reports directly to D Int, the National Archives Act 1986 requires it also to report to the Director of National Archives. Comdt Victor Lang, OiC Military Archives since 1987, retired this February and the current acting/OiC is Capt Stephen Ma- cEoin. The staff also includes Pte Adrian Short and three highly skilled civilian archivists: Noelle Grothier, Lisa Dolan, and Hugh Beckett. The five main areas of records are: Defence Forces material; Dept of Defence material; the Army Pensions Board (a major project planned for release in late 2012); collections from the Bureau of Military History; and private collections. Military Archives is extremely busy, with inquiries and re- searchers ranging from serving personnel researching material for a course to civilians looking up relatives' service records, and from students doing a history project to academics working on a book or paper. "Each week we deal with 20 to 30 sched- uled researchers and around 200 inquires via email, post and phone," said Noelle Grothier. "The civilian archivists work on a three-week rotation. This week Lisa is covering the reading room and Hugh is shadowing, which means he will cover for Lisa if she needs a break, deal with any inquiries, and keep up to date on day-to-day stuff, while the third person, myself, is work- ing on the collections." "I'm somewhat removed from the actual archiving," Capt MacEoin told us. "As acting/OiC I'm involved more in the management side, such as providing advice to the Defence Forces on our obligations under the National Archives Act and overseeing the activities of the archivists. Naturally, to be able to carry out these tasks requires a thorough understanding of the subject and having an MA in Archive & Records Manage- ment from UCD is a big help to me. "I also have responsibility for procurement and drawing up tenders, which again requires a thorough understanding of the subject in order to draw up technical specifications for the equipment and services that we need." All state archives are governed by the 30-year-rule, so records are not made available to the general public until 30 years after an event. Over the last number of years the archivists have THE DEFENCE FORCES MAGAZINE

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