Posts Tagged ‘National Archive of Ireland’

Crisis facing the National Archives of Ireland

28 January 2010

Contributed by Peter Crooks

The National Archives of Ireland is soon to become an institutional casualty of the recession. A proposal to merge the National Archives of Ireland and the Irish Manuscripts Commission into the National Library of Ireland (note the preposition) was announced in October 2008. Draft legislation is now nearly complete. If the government moves swiftly, it may secure the passage of this ghastly proposal through the Oireachtas in time to mark the 90th anniversary of the Four Courts bombardment of 30 June 1922, which destroyed the old Public Record Office of Ireland, and with it the accumulated records of seven centuries.

This is hardly the best way to commemorate the nation’s great archival tragedy. But is it possible to generate sufficient awareness to force the government to think again? When the merger was first announced, the attention of the public was understandably on bread-and-butter issues. Now the crisis facing the National Archives has gained some attention owing to the revelation that records from 1979 due to be released under the 30-year rule cannot be processed. This provoked a flurry of correspondence in the Irish Times. Then, on 20 January last, the crisis facing the archives was raised in the Senate.

The exchange between Senator Fergal Quinn and Deputy Martin Mansergh, Minister for State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (though not the Minister with direct responsibility for the Archives), repays close reading. Read more