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Services to Government Departments

Transfer Departmental records

The National Archives acquires records from Departments of State, in accordance with the provisions of the National Archives Act, 1986.


The term ‘Department of State’ is interpreted to mean not only the head office of a Government Department and its sub-offices, but also the courts and the various bodies listed in the schedule to the National Archives Act, 1986. The term therefore refers to almost all bodies staffed by civil servants, including the Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána.


In general, all Departmental records which are more than 30 years old must be transferred to the National Archives and made available for inspection by the public. Particular records may be retained by Departments and/or be withheld from public inspection only if they are covered by certificates stating either:


  • That they are in regular use in a Department or are required in connection with its administration or;


  • That making them available for inspection by the public would/might:


  • Be contrary to the public interest, or
  • Constitute a breach of statutory duty, or a breach of good faith on the ground that they contain information supplied in confidence, or
  • Cause distress or danger to living persons on the grounds that they contain information about individuals, or would or might be likely to lead to an action for damages for defamation.


Departments are responsible for the arrangement, numbering, cleaning, packing and labelling of records due for transfer; for the preparation of schedules listing records due for transfer and for their carriage to the National Archives. Under Section 8 of the National Archives Act, 1986 and Regulation 7, Departments are also responsible for the identification of records to be retained or withheld from public inspection.


Detailed provisions concerning the transfer of Departmental records to the National Archives are contained in the National Archives Act, 1986, Regulations, 1988.


The National Archives has also prepared guidelines for the use of Departments who wish to transfer records:




If you wish to transfer records to the National Archives please contact the Records Acquisition and Description Division at

'Wanted for Murder' poster relating to the germ-carrying housefly (JUS 90/3/52)