Progress on the early release of the Irish 1926 census has slowed down in recent months. However, there is no substance to recent rumours that the delay has been caused by the issue of redaction of sensitive data relating to people (alive or not) who have as yet not reached their 100th birthday.
During the visit of Uachtarán na hÉireann (President of Ireland) Michael D. Higgins to the National Archives of Ireland on Thursday, 1st November, representatives of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) spoke with Minister for Arts, Culture and Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD. Minister Deenihan confirmed that redaction is not an obstacle to the release of the 1926 census and that he would still like to see the project on course for release in 2016.
Mr Deenihan did, however, indicate that one of the unresolved issues – of itself not directly related to the 1926 census – relates to an ongoing court case involving the Central Statistics Office and access to census data. In the meantime the Minister said that he would be keen to find ways of funding the preservation, cataloguing and digitation of the original records. CIGO believes that might well include funding other than from the public purse.
Redaction of sensitive data in order to allow publication appears to have recently been given credence by the Irish Military Archives for the work it has undertaken on the Free State’s 1922 Military Census. The column noting each soldier’s next-of-kin initially had to be redacted given qualms that some next-of-kin may have been young relatives who might yet be still living. However, the issue looks set to be resolved and redaction not required after all.
In his recent conversation with CIGO representatives Minister Deenihan indicated that it is still his intention to bring a memo to Cabinet about the 1926 census in the near future. CIGO wishes him well with this project and looks forward to the census being made available -- whether redaction is eventually required or not – as soon as possible.