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Ministers launch Online Records of Ireland’s First World War casualties

Diplomatic Relations, International Relations, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Press Releases, Ireland, 2014
Ministers launch Online Records of Ireland’s First World War casualties

Ministers launch Online Records of Ireland’s First World War casualties

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore T.D., today launched an online archive of Ireland’s First World War records together with Northern Ireland’s First Minister, The Rt. Hon Peter D. Robinson, MLA, and deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, MLA. 

The new archive, ‘Ireland’s Memorial Records’, lists 49,000 soldiers from the island of Ireland who died during the First World War or as a result of wounds sustained during battle.

Google, the In Flanders Fields Museum in Belgium and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade worked together to bring the project to fruition. 

Relatives of those who died in the war were also present to see the archive launched.   

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said: I’m delighted to launch this important archive in the company of the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

“While the digitisation and online access to this record will be a rich resource for genealogy, most significant is its value in facilitating the simple and important act of remembering the individuals, Irish men and women, who lost their lives in the First World War.”

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson said:  I very much welcome the opportunity to be involved in the launch of this historical project today. Google and the In Flanders Fields Museum are to be highly commended for this valuable piece of work. As we enter an important decade of commemorations in both our countries, it is my hope that what has been established here today will keep alive the history and the stories of those who did not return from war.

“This work will allow the stories of the fallen to be recorded for the benefit of future generations and will allow us to express our thanks and acknowledge the sacrifice of men who died helping to preserve our freedom.”

The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the war and over 49,000 were killed, which shows the human impact of the war on the island of Ireland. It is important all their personal stories are told and this innovative project ensures the memory of those Irish soldiers killed will continue.

“This partnership between Google and the In Flanders Fields Museum has resulted in an incredible source of information for family, students and researchers. I commend Google for their efforts in helping collate this information but more importantly making it accessible. I encourage people to use it and share their stories so future generations can better understand the lives of their predecessors.”

Records first published in 1923 listing the soldiers from Ireland who died in the First World War have now been corrected, updated and made available online as part of the project.  The records can be searched by name, place of birth, rank, regiment, service number, date of death and place of burial / commemoration where that information is known.

Ireland’s Ambassador to Belgium, Eamonn MacAodha, has worked closely with Google and In Flanders Fields Museum to realise the project.  The Irish genealogical history and heritage company Eneclann worked to digitize available information on the casualties.

John Herlihy, head of Google in Ireland said; “Google is delighted to have worked with In Flanders Fields Museum on this significant project.  This is a great example of technology as a force for good, making information accessible and easily available.” 

Piet Chielens, Co-ordinator, In Flanders Fields Museum said:  “Commemoration is about sharing human experiences and fates, and reflecting on them. This online commemoration allows people from all over the world to connect with a shared past” 

ENDS

Press Office

10 January 2014

Remarks by the Tánaiste at the launch of the digitisation of Ireland’s Memorial Record

 

 

Video of the Launch