The Documents Laid collection is made up of documents that are submitted by government departments or agencies to the Houses of the Oireachtas in order to support the democratic process. They may be laid in obedience to a statute or in order to fulfil an order from one or both House of the Oireachtas, or simply in order to help Members of the Dáil or Seanad in the execution of their duties.
The Oireachtas Library has maintained a collection of documents laid since the establishment of the Irish Free State. Approximately 2000 documents are laid each year. The process of laying a document was originally a paper-based procedure, whereby anyone wishing to lay a document was required to complete a paper form and submit it along with six copies of the document in question. However, since 2012, an electronic documents laid facility has been in place, thereby streamlining the process as well as facilitating online access to these documents. Documents laid prior to 2009 are now also available online as a result of the HARP (Historical Archive Restoration Project) initiative, which saw the cleaning, cataloguing, conservation and digitisation of parts of the collection, including all documents laid up to the end of 2009.
At present, there are over 75,000 digital copies in the Documents Laid Collection, which can be accessed through our online catalogue.
The Documents Laid collection contains a wealth of information and allows us to examine and trace the political, social and economic developments of the 20th and 21st century. This exhibition will showcase examples from the Documents Laid collection for each decade since the 1920s, and will provide an insight into some of the significant events in Irish society over the last ninety years.