The Programme for Government provided for the award of the 1916 Commemorative medal to all Defence Forces personnel, Permanent and Reserve, who were recorded as being in service in the course of 2016. This was a special acknowledgement from the Government to the members of Óglaigh na hÉireann who served during the centenary year.
As the Deputy is aware from my replies to previous Parliamentary Questions, and as I have indicated in response to representations on this issue, many thousands of personnel have served in the Defence Forces since the foundation of the State. To put in place a mechanism to establish the identity of each, contact those who are still alive, decide on eligibility and, in the case of infirm or deceased former members, resolve who should get the medal on their behalf, would place an inordinate and disproportionate administrative burden on my Department. This, in turn, would divert important resources to the detriment of other more pressing and relevant requirements of my Department and the Defence Forces.
In recognition of the contribution of veterans to the centenary commemorative events in 2016 it was agreed to present a framed medal to each of the Veterans Associations along with a plaque for each of ONE’s 41 Branches and each of IUNVA’s 21 Posts. It is not proposed to revisit this arrangement.