What we do

Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes: Goodbye from National Archives Director, John McDonough

It has been an enormous privilege to be Director of the National Archives and to work with colleagues to advance the mission and vision of the institution.  The past 5 years has seen a number of changes in the National Archives.  Nearly a third of our colleagues have been in post for less than 5 years and hopefully we will see further tranches of new staff joining.

Our Collection Care and Public Services division has advanced a new website and a social media policy.  It has decanted the warehouse of extant records to prepare for the Archive Repository Project which is the cornerstone of future capital development in Bishop street.

The Archive and Government Services has worked with departments and agencies to meet their obligations under the National Archives Act, with regard to the annual transfer of records for public release under the 30 year rule and has demonstrated our expertise in providing advice on GDPR and records management.

The Corporate Services division saw a complete overhaul of our ICT infrastructure and continues to work to develop and meet our obligations for finance, procurement and corporate governance.

We have developed a number of fruitful collaborations such as Beyond 2022, and the 1922 salved material with the IMC.  We are partnering with the Houses of the Oireachtas under our parent department’s digitisation scheme to digitise early records from Dáil Éireann for the Decade of Centenaries commemorations.

There are other challenges.  The need to ensure the management and preservation of electronic records is one we share with other archival institutions and we need to grow the capability to do this.  More broadly and perhaps in partnerships with the other cultural institutions we need to examine the contemporary collecting of records and documents to capture and preserve citizen movements and civic actions.

I am reminded that what we do is not a luxury but is done to support the democratic tenets of accountability and transparency.  The care and preservation of the public record supports and ensures these values.  We meet this challenge on a daily basis through our work with departments and the public, in making records or catalogue information available either in our reading room or on line.

I look forward to seeing what else the National Archives will achieve.

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