Stephen asked the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht:
- his view on whether the National Archives has the accommodation, staff and other resources required to enable it to accept 30 year old records from all Departments of State in accordance with the terms of the National Archives Act, 1986;
- if he has identified any deficiency in its resources;
- the steps he has taken or plans to take to remedy those deficiencies.
Answered on Wednesday, 6th June, 2012. Ref No: 26387/12 Proof: 599
Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht (Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D.)
Firstly, I should point out that the National Archives building at Bishop Street is not a temporary storage building. It, along with the associated facility at the Four Courts, is the permanent home for the National Archives. While there have been issues with the Bishop Street building over the years, my Department, with the Office of Public Works (which has overall responsibility for the building), has endeavored to improve the facilities there. Over the last year, almost €700,000 was spent to replace the roof and defective shutters and in making the warehouse watertight. This work was key to safeguarding the State’s archives and will allow heretofore unseen files and papers be made available to the public. This will be the first stage of a phased improvement scheme that will aim to maximise the internal storage capacity of the facility. I am currently awaiting a costed scheme from the Office of Public Works in that regard.
As the Deputies are aware, there have been necessary reductions in programme and capital funding for all public bodies, including the National Archives and other cultural institutions, in recent years. Clearly, the economic realities pertaining to the public finances have to be addressed, while endeavoring at all times to maintain services to the public at our national cultural institutions.