Catherine Wright - Archivist
Tel: +353 404 20126
The Local Authorities obligations in regard to the care, preservation and availability of its archives are outlined in Section 65 of the Local Government Act 1994 and reiterated in Section 80 of the Local Government Act 2001.
Records and archives of local authorities.
80 - (1) In this section -
“local archives” includes
(a) such records and documents (including copies) as are, at the commencement of this section, held by any local archives service operated by any local authority (whether alone or in co-operation with another person or body),
(b) archival material acquired by a local authority under subsection (3), and
(c) other local records which are more than 30 years old, except such records as are certified, in accordance with directions under subsection (4), to be unsuitable for classification as local archives;
“local records” includes books, maps, plans, drawings, papers, files, photographs, films, micro-films and other micrographic records, sound recordings, pictorial records, magnetic tapes, magnetic discs, optical or video discs, other machine-readable records, other documentary or processed material made or received, and held in the course of its business or as successor to any other body by a local authority and includes copies of any such records duly made, but does not include -
(a) grants, deeds or other documents of title relating to property for the time being vested in the local authority, and
(b) any part of the permanent collection of a library, museum or gallery.
(2) Subject to the other provisions of this section, it is a function of a local authority to make arrangements for the proper management, custody, care and conservation of local records and local archives and for inspection by the public of local archives.
(3) A local authority may acquire, by purchase, donation, bequest or loan, and undertake the care and conservation of, archival material of local interest which is in the possession of any other person or body (including another local authority).
(4) The Minister may, after consultation with the Director of the National Archives, give advice or directions to local authorities in relation to any matter relating to local records and local archives and, in particular and without prejudice to the foregoing, in relation to—
(a) the retention, management, preservation, restoration and reproduction of local records and local archives,
(b) the certification of local records to be unsuitable for classification as local archives, and the review of such certification at specified intervals,
(c) the availability of local archives for public inspection,
(d) the making and provision of copies and extracts from local archives,
(e) circumstances in which local archives, or particular classes of local archives, may be withheld from public inspection,
(f) the preparation of guides, lists, indexes and finding aids to local archives,
(g) the lending of local archives to appropriate institutions, bodies and societies, whether in the State or elsewhere, and
(h) the disposal of local records and local archives.
(5) Section 13 of the National Archives Act, 1986 , shall cease to have effect in relation to records or documents of a local authority.
(6) Without prejudice to subsection (4), the National Archives Advisory Council may advise the Minister on any matter affecting local archives and their use by the public.
(7) Nothing in this section affects any rights of a person claiming to be the owner of a document to recover the document.
(8) The making or supplying of reproductions by or under the direction of a local authority of archives which are held in accordance with this section and are open to public inspection shall not, subject to any terms or conditions under which archival material was acquired under subsection (3), infringe the copyright of such archives.
(9) A person shall not remove, conceal, damage or destroy archives held by a local authority in accordance with this section.
(10) A person who contravenes subsection (9) is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500.
(11) Summary proceedings for an offence under this section may be brought by the local authority concerned.
Other pieces of legislation impact largely on the preservation of records and archives, such as the Planning and Development Act 2000 and Freedom of Information Act 1997 which allows a legal right for the public to access records held by public bodies.