Services to government

Retention schedule

The National Archives has developed a retention schedule for generic classes of records found in all Departments of State. This retention schedule will assist Departments of State and public bodies in the identification of records worthy of permanent preservation as archives. Departments of State and public bodies should adapt this guidance to their own circumstances, taking account of the types of records produced, the business and legal functions these records support and any further statutory obligations departments may have for the retention of records. This retention schedule is issued as guidance only, and does not absolve departments or public bodies subject to the National Archives Act, 1986 of their obligation under section 7 of the Act to obtain authorisation from the Director of the National Archives before disposal of records takes place.

For bodies not currently subject to the National Archives Act, 1986 this guidance should be used to identify records that may be retained for eventual transfer to the National Archives.

Applications for disposal can be made at any point in the lifecycle of a record series. Departments of State should be managing the disposal of records as part of an overall records management policy. This will ensure that records are not retained unnecessarily, and that a full audit trail is maintained of decisions for both the disposal and retention of records, including records containing personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act, 2018. It will also ensure that records over 30 years old can be identified for transfer to the National Archives. The National Archives has also produced a number of guidance notes on GDPR, disposal of FOI case files and disposal of PQ case files, which can be downloaded here.

Further information on disposal of records is available in the Services to Government section of the website. Any queries regarding retention or disposal of departmental records should be directed to the Head of Current Records, Archives and Government Services Division, National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin D08 DF85 or by email to query@nationalarchives.ie.