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Death and destruction: Claims for compensation after the 1916 Rising

More than 6,500 claims were made for damage to buildings and property caused by fighting or subsequent looting.

plic Source: National Archives

MORE THAN 6,500 FILES documenting claims made for compensation after the 1916 Rising have been digitised.

The documents were submitted to the Property Losses (Ireland) Committee (PLIC) in the aftermath of the Easter Rising.

The files have been digitised by the National Archives of Ireland and consist of applications for compensation from individuals and businesses for damage to buildings and property, including loss of personal property, sustained as a result of the fighting, or subsequently as a result of fire and looting.

Although most of the claims relate to property and persons residing in Dublin, the collection contains a substantial number of claims for damage in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford and a small number in Co Galway.

‘Fascinating insight’ 

Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys yesterday launched a new website where the documents can be viewed.

The majority of claims are from individuals who lost small amounts of personal property or whose homes were damaged in the fighting. There are also a large number of claims from businesses and property owners.

Humphreys said the online archive “provides a fascinating insight into the very personal cost of the Rising and the impact that the fighting had on both homes and businesses”.

As well as the lives lost during Easter Week 1916, many businesses were damaged or destroyed. These files go into incredible detail, listing the individual stock items lost by businesses during the Rising and providing us with a window into the homes of 1916, as people claimed for personal affects both small and large.

People could not use the scheme to claim compensation for the death of a family member.

One woman, L Brosnan from the Riding School, Lower Castle Yard, Dublin, was informed she could not be compensated for her husband’s death as the committee had “no power to consider any claim for compensation in respect of loss of life during the recent disturbances”.

husband Source: National Archives

Margaret McKane, of 10 Henry Place in Dublin, made a claim for £24 6s 9d for damage to jewellery and personal effects due to gunfire. A payment of £20 was recommended by the committee.

Her application included details of the shooting dead of her 16-year-old daughter, Brigid McKane, and the shooting of her husband Thomas McKane.

daughter Source: National Archives

A Miller and Son made a claim for £860 19s 10d for destruction of furs by fire at 30 Abbey Street Lower, Dublin. Payment of £544 was recommended by the committee.

beg Source: National Archives

Meanwhile, Falkner Harding and Son applied for compensation of £15 2s 2d for damage to furniture, fixtures and fittings and theft of champagne and spirits by Crown forces at 11 Fleet Street, Dublin. Payment of £9 9s 6d was recommended.

champ Source: National Archives

Several claims were also made in relation to animals killed in the Rising.

Originally only uninsured or partially-insured businesses or individuals were to be included in the Committee’s terms of reference. However, following pressure from businesses this rule was relaxed.

Despite lobbying, the committee refused to entertain claims for consequential loss, including claims for fresh produce that had rotted and could not be sold.

Artwork

One of the buildings which was completely destroyed by the Rising was the Royal Hibernian Academy on Abbey Street Lower.

A number of renowned artists lost works that were on display, including Jack B Yeats and Sir John Lavery – both of whom subsequently submitted compensation claims.

jack Source: National Archives

lav Source: National Archives

John McDonough, director of the National Archives, said the files “will enable historians and family members to research the impact of the fighting on people’s lives and the claims they made in an attempt to rebuild them”.

1916 Liveblog: The Rising is over – 362 dead, hundreds more injured and the fate of the rebel leaders is unknown

Read: Historical Irish items saved from being dumped are up for auction

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Órla Ryan

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