TD Olivia Mitchell said yesterday that material held at the National Archives and National Library was degrading as a result of poor storage conditions.
Speaking at the second reading of The National Tourism Bill 2011, she said that little investment was made in the buildings that housed these cultural institutions during the Celtic Tiger years and they were now in desperate need.
'The National Archives is an important area for genealogical tourism, which is a major growth area,' she said. 'It is particularly significant in a country that has had wave after wave of emigration, but the National Archives building is in a woeful state.
'It is a tribute to the dedicated specialist staff there that they are able to maintain access to so many of our archives. That access has been increased enormously by the digitisation of records and I understand that the process of digitisation, which will make things more available to people, is continuing.
'If the Minister of State does find the money, or the NAMA building that was mentioned that could house the archives, I would recommend it be considered as a priority for the Government.'
She added that the National Library was a second priorty.
'I mention these two institutions because their material is degrading as a result of not having the proper conditions for storage. Whatever about the tourists, let us ensure we do not let it degrade any further.'
See the full debate.