Billy Good, President, Cork Branch; Gerry White, Chairman, Cork Branch; Francis O'Connor, Treasurer, Cork Branch; Eugene Power, Education Officer, Cork Branch; Ian Chambers, Chairman, Dublin Branch; Ken Simpson, Dublin Branch and Tom Thorpe, Belfast.
The meeting was chaired by Gerry White, Chairman of the Cork Branch and Irish Regional Representative. He welcomed everyone to the meeting, circulated the agenda and said the main purpose was to enable members from the different branches to exchange ideas, to explore ways and means for branch co-operation and plan for forthcoming events.
Both the Cork and Dublin branches reported that they were having difficulty obtaining charitable status in Ireland. The main reason for this is that both the WFA and its constitution is primarily UK based. All present acknowledged the importance of obtaining charitable status and it was decided that the chairman would write to Association Secretary, Steve Oram, and ask him to see how other UK based charities operating in Ireland deal with this issue, if the Irish branches can operate under the main WFA charitable status and, if not, to advise us accordingly.
Both the Cork and Dublin branches stated that the cost of taking out a public liability insurance policy is proving prohibitive. Following a discussion about same it was agreed that the chairman would write to Steve Oram and inquire if an association policy exists that covers all branches and if not, would it be possible to examine the possibility of obtaining one.
While both branches have so far managed to secure speakers for their monthly meetings all agreed that the cost of getting one from the UK that is on the speakers list would be prohibitive. Tom Thorpe out forward the idea of asking academics from universities who have expertise in this area or Phd students who are studying aspects of the Great War to give a talk. All agreed that this was a good idea.
Members of the Cork branch stated that, having spoken to prospective Irish members some said that they felt the cost of joining was too high. It was also stated that the Sterling/Euro exchange rate was another factor that may stop prospective Irish members from joining. Tom Thorpe stated that branches should remind those enquiring about joining about the lower rate. The chairman also stated that he would write to Steve Oram and inquire about the possibility of having a fixed euro rate for members and potential members living in the euro zone. Similar groups, like the Leinster Regiment Association, have adopted this practice and it seems to work satisfactory.
Cork and Dublin Branches
The chairmen of the Cork and Belfast branches gave a brief report on the membership, activities, social media projects and plans for the future. Members from both branches expressed the desire to co-operate on projects in the future.
Unveiling of CWGC Cross of Sacrifice - Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, 31 July 2014
The chairman reported that Mr John Kennedy, a senior civil servant, in the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who has responsibility for state commemorations. Mr Kennedy requested a WFA presence at the unveiling of the new CWGC Cross of Sacrifice at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, on 31 July. The chairman confirmed to Mr Kennedy that the WFA would be honoured to be present at this ceremony and it was agreed that members of both the Cork and Dublin branches would be asked to attend.
Belfast Ceremonies – 4 August 2014
Mr Kennedy also requested a WFA presence at a series of ceremonies that are being held in Belfast on 4 August. While it may be difficult for members living in the Republic to attend, Tom Thorpe said that he would attend and he also agreed to circulate this information to members in Northern Ireland and ask them to represent the association at the various ceremonies.
The chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches reported on how they mark Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
The Cork branch had conducted a very successful tour but the Dublin branch hadn't organised one yet. It was agreed that it would be a good idea to try and organise a tour that would be open to members from all over Ireland as this would enable those on the tour to avail of any expertise that may be available from those travelling. Tom Thorpe suggested that we should look into the possibility of having a schedule of 'themed' tours. It was agreed that the first one should be a introductory tour to cater for those who haven't travelled to the Western Front but subsequent ones should be 'themed'. Tom Thorpe and the chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches agreed to look into the possibility of conducting a tour in 2015.
Any Other Business
Under any other business the chairman of the Dublin Branch mentioned the e-mail received from the WFA Branch Co-ordinator stating that the Executive Committee have offered to 'underwrite' an Irish conference. All present agreed that this was an exciting prospect that would enhance the profile of the association in Ireland. A brief discussion was held on the format of such a conference and it was agreed that the chairman would contact Colin Wagstaff to clarify exactly what 'underwrite' means. Once this was clarified Tom Thorpe and the chairmen of the Cork and Dublin branches agreed to organise the conference.
As there was no other business the meeting concluded and those present made their way to the War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge to attend the Annual RBL Service of Remembrance.
Irish Regional Representative and Chairman, Cork Branch
Ian Chambers, Chairman, Dublin Branch; Ken Simpson, Dublin Branch; Gerry White, Chairman, Cork Branch; Eugene Power, Education Officer, Cork Branch; Tom Thorpe, Belfast; Francis O'Connor, Treasurer, Cork Branch and Billy Good, President, Cork Branch.
Representatives from Cork, Dublin and Belfast at the first Irish Regional Conference at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, Dublin.