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About us

Ministerial responsibility for archives

The National Archives Act, 1986 assigned ministerial responsibility for the National Archives to the Taoiseach. However in 1993, the National Archives was transferred from the Department of the Taoiseach to the new Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, which in 1997 was re-named the Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands. In 2002, the National Archives was transferred to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, in 2010, to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and in 2011, to the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.


Consequently, most of the functions conferred on the Taoiseach by the National Archives Act are now performed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht but the Taoiseach continues to perform certain functions relating to the retention by Departments of Departmental records which are more than 30 years old and the withholding of such records from public inspection.


Three other members of the Government have powers concerning archival matters. The Minister for Finance may, under the National Archives Act, make regulations concerning the proper management and preservation of Departmental records held by Departments, and under the Freedom of Information Act 1997, make regulations providing for the management and maintenance of records by public bodies in general.


Under the Local Government Act, 2001 (restating provisions first made in the Local Government Act, 1994), the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government may give advice or directions to local authorities in relation to local records and local archives. Similarly, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources may, under the Harbours Act of 1996, give advice or directions to harbour companies and authorities in relation to their records and archives.