Dáil Éireann - Volume 400 - 27 June, 1990

Written Answers. - National Archives.

72. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Finance if he will, in consultation with the National Archives, ensure that his Department maintains clear and comprehensive records of the current administration of Government business so that in time the transfer of such records to the National Archives will enable future generations to obtain an accurate and informed picture of the business of Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

[1056] 79. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Finance if he will outline the archival records, contained within his Departament, which have been transferred to the National Archives; the records retained and the reason for their retention; if he will further indicate when those records not specifically retained will be transferred to the National Archives; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Finance (Mr. A. Reynolds): I propose to take Questions Nos. 72 and 79 together.

Under the National Archives Act, 1986, and Regulations made thereunder, departmental records which are more than 30 years old are due to be transferred to the National Archives by the end of this year. My Department has commenced the transfer of such records to the National Archives and expects to have the process completed by December 1990.

The Act provides for the withholding of records from public scrutiny in specific and limited circumstances where their disclosure would be contrary to the public interest, involve a breach of statutory duty or reveal information supplied in confidence, might cause distress or danger to living persons or might be likely to lead to an action for defamation. The Act also allows records in regular use in Departments to be retained where their transfer would seriously interfere with the administration of that Department.

The only records of my Department which are being withheld or likely to be withheld from the National Archives are those clearly falling within these categories.

In the normal course of its business, my Department maintains clear and comprehensive records of its transactions to which, in time, the obligations imposed under the Act will apply.