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Services for our visitors

Under our governing legislation – the National Archives Act, 1986 – we provide services to the public by making available and accessible the records we acquire. Once the records have been preserved and described, our primary obligation to the public under Section 11 of the Act, is to make the records available for their inspection in the Reading Room. Members of the public are therefore statutorily entitled to consult those records which are not withheld or bound by those conditions outlined in National Archives’ responsibility for archives.



Services to Government Departments

As part of our mandate under the National Archives Act, 1986, we provide services to Government in a number of areas. Under the Act, all records of Government Departments, including the courts and a range of other bodies, must be preserved and transferred to the National Archives when they are thirty years old, unless their disposal has been specifically authorised by the Director.


We assist Government in preserving archival records by selecting those of permanent value, managing their transfer to the National Archives and facilitating the disposal of those records no longer required for administrative purposes or archival preservation. Each year, thousands of official documents are transferred to the National Archives by Government and are made available for use by members of the public. Although the records transferred are predominantly paper files, transferred material includes bound volumes, photographs, films, sound recordings, maps, plans and drawings. A small portion of records received are in electronic format and these are preserved by our in-house Electronic Records Unit (ERU).


We also provide advice and guidelines to public service bodies on a range of matters relating to the management of records under their control and provide guidelines for Departments of State and the courts on the transfer of records to the National Archives. Further information can be obtained by contacting the National Archives at