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From: Stephen Hayes
To: All
Date: 2003-01-05 16:20:04
Subject: State Arms Bill (NSW) AUS

* Forwarded (from: GENEALOGY_FMY) by Stephen Hayes using timEd/2 1.10.y2k.
* Originally from Genealogical Society of Ireland (8:8/2002) to All.
* Original dated: Sat Jan 04, 03:53

From: "Genealogical Society of Ireland" <GenSocIreland{at}>

A Chairde,

Happy New Year to All from Dublin, Ireland

Very interested in the messages regarding the campaign for a State Arms Bill
for New South Wales and possibly, a Federal Arms Bill for the entire nation
of Australia.

Readers may be interested to read an extract regarding the campaign in
Ireland for an Irish Genealogy & Heraldry Bill as points of interest may be
raised that could assist both campaigns.

We wish our Australian friends every success with their campaign.

Extract from the October issue of "The Genie Gazette" - monthly newsletter
of the Genealogical Society of Ireland -


With the XXV International Congress of Genealogical & Heraldic Sciences over
for another two years participants are reviewing the many papers presented
at Dublin Castle last month. The arguments over the issues raised at the
Congress are now aired on Internet newsgroups and, no doubt, in time many
will be published giving an opportunity for public debate on Irish heraldic

Interestingly as the participants where overwhelming from overseas
the perceptions of some on the issue of Ireland's heraldic authority and
practice where somewhat rooted in the past. Little or no appreciation of the
independence of Ireland's heraldic authority or indeed, the position of
heraldry in a republic was evident in the questions to Dr. Susan Hood who
lectured on her recent publication "Royal Roots Republican Inheritance - The
Survival of the Office of Arms".  The audience appeared to be uncertain as
to the role of the Chief Herald of Ireland and the position of titles of
nobility in the Republic. Dr. Hood's attempt at clarifying the situation for
one questioner after another would have been greatly assisted by a bold
assertion that should the People of Ireland, as the sovereign entity, wish
to have heraldry in their Republic then they can do so. In short, it could
be explained as simply, we don't need a monarchy to have heraldry and
we don't derive the authority to have heraldry from any monarch. Another
questioner raised the issue of the Arms of Ireland appearing on Britain's
Royal Arms. He asked whether there has been a request from the Government of
Ireland to have this removed and replaced with the Arms of Northern Ireland
as confirmed by the Ulster King of Arms on August 2nd 1924. Perhaps such a
change should have accompanied the passing by Westminster of the Republic of
Ireland Act, 1949 or at the very least, on the accession to the British
throne of the present monarch in 1952. Indeed, there is a precedent in that
the present British Royal Arms, designed for Queen Victoria, had earlier
dropped the Arms of France in 1801 in deference to the French, so why not
for the Irish now? To be fair to all involved or interested in Irish
heraldic matters, the lack of a clear legislative basis for Irish heraldry
has left the issue of the granting of Arms in the Republic and their
protection, use or otherwise in a very grey area indeed. The issue of
"supporters" and the entitlement to such in a Grant of Arms has also been
raised due to certain inconsistencies in the past. Whether people with
titles of nobility or those in positions of note should be afforded a grant
of "supporters" when ordinary citizens, who have the right to apply for a
Grant of Arms, are not normally given such embellishments. Indeed, it's hard
to equate this practice with our constitutional position as a Republic that
recognises no titles of nobility and declares the equality of citizenship.

Maybe it is opportune to reiterate the details of this Society's long
standing campaign for an Irish Genealogy & Heraldry Bill to provide a clear
and unambiguous legislative basis for heraldry in the Republic.

The main points for inclusion in such a Bill are as follows:-

+    Clear definition of genealogy and genealogical records / material /

+    Clear definition of heraldry and the nature of armorial bearings

+    Designation of place of deposit for genealogical and heraldic records

+    Establishment of the Office of Chief Genealogical Officer, based at the
National Library of Ireland, to oversee the formulation, planning and
execution of policy in respect of genealogy and associated records,
especially, the public accessibility to such

+    Establishment of a supervisory / advisory role for the Chief
Officer in respect of government departments, local government or State
agencies holding such records

+    Establishment of a National Inventory of Genealogical Records held by
State or by private institutions and the publication of such

+    Establishment of a mechanism to underpin best practice in the storage
public accessibility to genealogical records in liaison with the Heritage

+    Establishment of the "Principle of Public Ownership & Right
of Access"
our genealogical heritage for persons in Ireland and the Irish Diaspora

+    Recognition of the importance of records of Baptisms, Marriages and
Burials held and maintained by ecclesiastic institutions in Ireland as part
of the Nation's genealogical heritage

+    Establishment of a Standing Advisory Committee on Genealogy to assist
advise the Chief Genealogical Officer with members from the commercial and
voluntary genealogical organisations in the State

+    Establishment of a State acquisitions policy in respect of genealogical
records in private hands whether at risk or not

+    Prevention of the export of original material whether in State or

+    Application of functions to the Office of the Chief Genealogical
in respect to the provision of educational and promotional material /
programmes for genealogy

+    Legislative establishment of the prerogative rights of the Office of
Chief Herald of Ireland

+    Legislative protection for armorial bearings in the Republic

+    Legislative regulation in the application for and granting of Arms and
Letters Patent

+    Legislative framework for fees charged by the Chief Herald of Ireland

+    Protection of copyright in respect of armorial bearings

+    Legislative regulation and requirements in respect of heraldic records

+    Protection of rights to inheritance in respect of armorial bearings in

+    Definition of types of grantee, i.e. corporation, individual, local
authority etc

+    Assure access to Arms for a greater number of our citizens by providing
for the introduction of a "Certificate of a Grant of Arms" describing the
details of the Arms granted, this would be a less expensive alternative to
the existing Letters Patent presented on beautifully hand painted vellum.

+    Rights of grantees to the free use of armorial bearings and protection

+    Protection and defined use of the Arms of Ireland

+    Establishment of a Standing Advisory Committee on Heraldry and
to assist and advise the Chief Herald of Ireland on such matters

+    Legislative establishment of Office of the Chief Herald as the
vexillological authority for Ireland

+    Clear definition of vexillology and vexillological records / material

+    Establishment of a "Vexillological Register" for Ireland and a
for the granting of Letters Patent in respect of flags and emblems by the
Chief Herald for State, local authority or corporate bodies

+    Legislative protection for flags and emblems in the Republic,
the National Flag and the Presidential Standard

+    Legislative regulation on the maintenance by the Chief Herald of a
register of Irish Hereditary Chieftains as "national treasures" and as an
embodiment of our ancient genealogical heritage, including, the requirement
for the strict scrutiny by independent genealogical researchers of all
applications for courtesy recognition of "hereditary chieftains"

+    Provision for the awarding by Government of a Special Grant of Arms to
individuals in recognition for services to the State, community, business,
arts, sports or education, including Letters Patent outlining the reasons
for the award

Michael Merrigan
Hon. Secretary
Genealogical Society of Ireland

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