Thursday 26 May 2016

Early release of 1926 Irish census gets another hearing

It's been more than three years since the early release of the 1926 Census of Ireland has been a serious topic of conversation among Irish genealogists. After a couple of years of high hopes that the necessary digitisation could be undertaken and the records released as part of Ireland's 1916 centenary celebrations, most family historians had accepted by mid-2013 that, despite good intentions, the (then) Government could not force through the facilitating legislation.

The dust settled.

Some have decided to not let it lie there. A Private Members Bill (PMB) was introduced to the Dáil on Monday by Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

Despite a change of name (to the Statistics (1916 Rising Centenary) Bill 2016), the proposed PMB doesn't seem to offer any new ideas for challenging the seemingly non-negotiable stance of the Central Statistical Office concerning confidentiality. The PMB also repeats a notion that the records should be afforded Special Heritage Status – a suggestion that didn't work any lubricating magic on the CSO's position on a previous outing.

If this PMB succeeds, I'll be delighted, but I won't be getting my hopes up. I suggest others don't either.

You can find out more about the background to the campaign for the early release of the 1926 census, and view a sample of the census return form filled in by householders 91 years ago, on my website, Irish Genealogy Toolkit.