The following announcement was written by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO):
Following the recent Irish general election Fine Gael has become the largest party in the Dáil, and has agreed to form a coalition government with the Labour Party, which will take office on Wednesday 9 th March. CIGO is delighted to announce that the new ‘Programme for Government' negotiated between the two parties includes a commitment to release the Irish 1926 census.
Given the destruction of Ireland's nineteenth century census returns in the conflagration which consumed Ireland's Public Record Office in 1922, access to the 1926 census returns has been an objective long pursued by CIGO. Although lobbied by both CIGO and the Genealogical Society of Ireland, the outgoing Fianna Fáil-led government never really grasped the compelling arguments in favour of allowing access to these census records. By contrast CIGO found Fine Gael's spokesman on Tourism, Culture and Sport, Jimmy Deenihan TD, very receptive to the arguments, which he explained reinforced the party's own policy development in relation to the stimulation of roots tourism. And he went on to say that this fitted well with their plan to develop in Dublin "a national archives and genealogy quarter, providing easy access to archives and tapping into an area of cultural tourism which is of huge interest to the vast Irish Diaspora".
Of course researchers shouldn't hold their breath on this issue as it will take time to prepare the necessary legislation to amend the Statistics Act 1993 and, in line with Fine Gael policy, to formulate wording to allow for the redaction of so-called “sensitive” data. Co-operation will likely be the key to final success and CIGO's supporters can be sure that we will continue to follow through on our effective lobbying by working with all other interested parties to ensure delivery of this important source for Irish genealogy.