Friday, 28 June 2013

Irish Government committee recommendation on FOI bill

The Genealogical Society of Ireland has reported on its Facebook page at that the Irish Government's Finance Committee has included a section about genealogy in its Report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform on the Draft Heads of the General Scheme of the Freedom of Information Bill 2012. The committee argues the following:

The Joint Committee does not wish to be prescriptive in regard to the inclusion of genealogical research under the Act as the Joint Committee notes that this would require a definition of 'genealogy'; for example, would 'genealogy' be the study of any family or individual whether related to the researcher or not; or could 'genealogy' be interpreted as 'one researching ones own ancestry' - the latter would have a very negative impact on public accessibility to such records.

Therefore, given the above concerns the Joint Committee consider it appropriate to seek the inclusion, in the legislation, of the following as a guiding principle by which record holders (State and State Agencies) would give public access to records with a genealogical potential by the inclusion of a Section that states that the legislation endorses and fully supports the Principle of Public Ownership and Right of Access to our genealogical heritage' - this will allow Statutory Instruments and Departmental Guidelines to take cognisance of this Principle when assessing public accessibility to records with a genealogical potential.

In other words, genealogical records should be classed as public information, and not personal.

The full report is at[Final]-Report-on-FoI-Bill.pdf and there is a YouTube clip as follows from Ciarán Lynch TD outlining a summary of the report’s findings, as follows:

(With thanks to the GSI)


My new book, Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, is now available from Pen and Sword. My Scottish land and church records ebooks are available at, whilst my next Pharos Scottish course, Scottish Research Online, starts Sep 4th - see Time to smash a few brick walls...!

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