Annual release of State records, 2022
Every year our annual release of State records are made available in January under the National Archives Act, 1986. These are government files which are 30 years old. This year an amendment to the legislation, the National Archives (Amendment) Act, 2018, sees the release of Anglo-Irish records (1992–1998) of the following departments: the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General.
Why was this amendment introduced to the existing legislation?
The amendment was introduced to bring the National Archives of Ireland in line with international best practice in open government and public accountability.
The UK changed its law in 2010 to provide public access to the archival records of government after 20 years. This process began on a phased basis in 2013 and will be completed by 2023. Due to the close shared history of Ireland and the UK, the disparity in annual releases will result in a serious imbalance to the public historical record, particularly in relation to Anglo-Irish and North-South matters.
What class of records are being released under the 20-Year Rule?
Taking into account resource constraints, the rule is being implemented on a phased basis for specific departments only, namely, the departments and offices most closely involved in Anglo-Irish matters: Department of the Taoiseach, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Justice, and the Office of the Attorney General.
What topics are covered in this year’s release?
The records cover a large number of topics mainly relating to the Northern Ireland peace process and the ground-breaking Good Friday Agreement signed on 10 April 1998. However the releases also cover the more quirky or bizarre aspects of Irish political and social life such as catering catastrophes at an Irish government-hosted EU summit and the cost of flying an elephant from Tanzania to its new home in Dublin Zoo! Highlights selected by journalists during our media preview can be viewed at https://www.rte.ie/news/2021/1228/1268007-state-papers-12-things/
What are the details for the records we have received from departments to date?
Due to the knock-on effects of Covid-19 and resulting resource constraints in some government departments and offices, not all files up to 1998 have been transferred to date. Additional transfers up to 1998 will be made during 2022. At present lists for available files are only accessible in hardcopy form in our Reading Room. Our staff are currently working on making them available on our online catalogue as soon as possible.
The following is a breakdown of the years and reference codes currently available:
Department of the Taoiseach:
- Central Registry files for 1991: 2021/1/1-456
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1991: 2021/93/1-59
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1992: 2021/94/1-52
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1993: 2021/95/1-45
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1994: 2021/96/1-50
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1995: 2021/97/1-46
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1996: 2021/98/1-29
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1997: 2021/99/1-30
- Northern Ireland Division files for 1998: 2021/100/1-20
Department of Foreign Affairs:
- Central registry (i.e. HQ) files for 1990 additional to 2021 transfer: 2021/44/1-210
- Central Registry (i.e. HQ) files for 1991 : 2021/78/1-3539
- Office of the Secretary General for 1991: 2021/77/1-42
- Anglo-Irish Division files for 1991: 2021/45/1-334
- Anglo-Irish Division files for 1992: 2021/46/1-306
- Anglo-Irish Division) files for 1993: 2021/47/1-302
- Anglo-Irish Division) files for 1994: 2021/48/1-359
- Anglo-Irish Division files for 1995: 2021/49/1-358
- Anglo-Irish Division files for 1996: 2021/50/1-397
Department of Justice:
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1991: 2021/101/1-31
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1992: 2021/102/1-50
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1993: 2021/103/1-11
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1994: 2021/104/1-12
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1995: 2021/105/1-2
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1996: 2021/106/1-56
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1997: 2021/107/1-49
- Security & Northern Ireland Division files for 1998: 2021/108/1-25
Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth (Dept. of Health records):
- Childcare Division files: 2021/111/1-44
Department of Finance:
- Compensation files re death & injury in Croke Park, 21 Nov 1920 (Bloody Sunday, 1920): 2021/92/1-10
Office of the Attorney General:
- SR (Subject-related) files for 1991: 2021/42/1-153
Office of the Secretary to the President:
- 1990 files: 2021/15/1-295