Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Questions (789)

Joan Burton


789. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to a report on behalf of an organisation (details supplied) that found serious staffing and skills shortages in the National Archives of Ireland has led to a substantial backlog in the processing of records and identified major shortcomings in the digitisation of records and the development of online access; her plans to address the matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53079/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Earlier this year, my Department underwent an organisational capability review which was undertaken by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform with the co-operation of my Department.  This Review identified a number of challenges and made recommendations to address those challenges, which will be addressed by an Action Plan currently being drawn up by my Department. 

The Review recognised some long-running capacity constraints under which my Department has been operating including constraints in the National Archives.  It acknowledged however additional resources had been secured since 2018, allowing the recruitment of additional staffing this year, including the recruitment of archivists.  

The Review recommended that the Department continue to expand its staff cohort in the coming years and my Department intends to continue to address emerging priorities and any staff gaps as part of an ongoing strategic human resource planning. 

The implementation of this recommendation is, in large part, being addressed as part of the annual Estimates process and my Department is committed to using every opportunity to advocate for additional resources.  In recognition of the importance of records and archives, many other Government Departments also have an opportunity to employ archivists to improve the position on their own archives and those being transferred to the National Archives.