National Archives Act, 1986

Right to inspect archives.

10.—(1) All archives in the custody of the National Archives or held elsewhere in accordance with this Act shall, subject to such regulations as the Taoiseach may from time to time make, be available for public inspection, except—

(a) archives which were formerly Departmental records (other than court or testamentary documents) and are less than 30 years old,

(b) archives which were formerly Departmental records and in respect of which a certificate has been granted in accordance with section 8 (4).

(2) Where archives have been acquired by the National Archives subject to conditions restricting or limiting their availability for public inspection, such conditions shall be duly complied with.

(3) The provisions of section 8 shall apply to archives which were formerly Departmental records and which are held in the Public Record Office of Ireland or the State Paper Office at the commencement of this section or are transferred to the National Archives in accordance with the provisions of section 8 (7).

(4) Nothing in this section shall limit the right of inspection of any record which the public had—

(a) before the commencement of this Act, or

(b) before the transfer of such record to the National Archives.

(5) Archives which were formerly Departmental records and which have not been available for public inspection for more than 30 years shall be reviewed by an officer of the Department of State concerned authorised for that purpose at least once in every subsequent period of five years with a view to deciding whether or not they should be available for public inspection and shall be dealt with accordingly.

(6) Nothing in this section shall prevent a member of the Government from granting a request for access to Departmental records or archives (being records held or archives formerly held by the Department of State of which that member is in charge) less than 30 years old.

(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed as granting any right to inspect archives (or portions of them) which the Director considers to be in danger of damage through inspection by the public, but the Director shall, in any such case, make copies available for inspection if that is possible.