Monday, 10 November 2014

Unhappy bunnies in Dublin over civil registration indexes fiasco

It seems that there are a few unhappy bunnies in Dublin just now over the recent fiasco concerning the online provision of up to date indexes for civil registration records of births, marriages and deaths - the records that sort of appeared and disappeared at the same time very recently. The Minister for Heritage, Heather Humphreys, is quoted in the Irish Times as apparently having had a go at the Data Protection Commissioner for comments made to the press in the aftermath of the decision to have the records removed from the Irish Genealogy site ( For all the juicy gossip, see

Crucially, the commissioner has now agreed to limit the available data to records for births more than 100 years old, marriages more than 75 years old and deaths more than 50 years old, replicating the provision to that of the online Geni website for Northern Ireland (, although it also provides images of the registers within those closure periods. Amendments to the necessary legislation are currently going through the Irish parliament.

(With thanks to Joe Buggy @townlandorigin)


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  1. Interesting that they say that the government department was “unclear where the data protection laws have been breached”. I wondered that myself at the time.

    Major warning - I'm not even up-to-date with UK data protection and Irish data protection never crossed my professional path. But (UK) data protection has always been misunderstood. It's *not* about privacy, it's about ensuring that *sensitive* data is (a) accurate and (b) always handled according to due process. (Conversely, data protection is necessary for privacy).

    The issue for me is that if the organisation alters its due process then, providing there's no conflict with any other processes, it's difficult to see how the legislation is breached. *If* the Irish law is anything like the UK, then it looks like the same concern has been expressed there.

  2. Certainly in Scotland there isn't an issue with it - indexes with restricted detail to those classified as 'historic indexes' are already available on ScotlandsPeople, right up to this century, and seemingly the sky hasn't fallen on anyone's head yet!

  3. It's good that the facility will be restored, but the limitations seem a bit OTT, especially as many of the records are already searchable on

    As if genealogy isn't difficult enough in Ireland without this sort of burden.