Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Irish Registry of Deeds digitisation project still years from lift off

The Property Registration Authority's new Statement of Strategy 2022-2024, Resilience in a Changing Environment, is now available to download.

Ireland's Property Registration Authority (PRAI), which runs two particularly important services of interest to genealogists – the Registry of Deeds and the Valuation Office – has just published its Statement of Strategy, 2022–2024.

       To download pdf of the document, click image
I was hoping for some clear sense of timeframe for the digitisation of the Registry of Deeds' wonderful archive, but I didn't get it. That's not to say the project wasn't mentioned, however.

Given the last couple of years of Covid-19 related disruption, this is hardly surprising. So much, in so many spheres of life, has had to be moved to the back burner and it is clear from the strategy document that while the project is still noted as live, it is not an immediate priority.

In the immediate future, the PRAI will be merging with the Valuation Office and Ordnance Survey Ireland to create a new Government body called Tailte √Čireann (trans. Irish Lands). This new State land organisation will be established in January 2022 and is designed to help the three previously disjointed agencies work more efficiently in its provision of infomation on property ownership. The body will move to a new headquarters in Smithfield’s Distillers Building, Dublin 7, when the development is completed.

The archival services provided at the Registry of Deeds will remain in Henrietta Street. (Also staying put will be the Ordinance Survey's historic manuscripts store in the Phoenix Park.)

In reference to future plans for the Registry of Deeds, this is what the Strategy document tells us: "It is envisaged that a digitisation strategy, developed during the period of this corporate strategy, to conserve and make these archives more accessible in the public interest, will be implemented in the medium to long term." Also, under a list of the new body's High Level Objectives, we have the following: "Publication and implementation over the time of Registry of Deeds Archives Digitisation Strategy."

I think we can take it as read that searching a fully indexed and digitised database of the Registry of Deeds huge archives is still a looooonnnnnnnggggggg way from becoming a reality.