Tuesday, 8 December 2015
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
I agree that we do not want a collection of different standards. They are engaging with the different Departments. The Deputy's question focuses on co-operation with Northern Ireland. I have met my counterpart in Northern Ireland, Carál Ní Chuilín, and we totally agree on it. Our last North-South Ministerial Council sectoral meeting was held in the Annaghmakerrig centre, which is, uniquely, funded by both the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland. There is good co-operation between the various bodies, such as between the National Museum and the National Gallery and the Ulster Museum. We need to continue with this co-operation.
The UK National Archives is working with the National Archives of Ireland on the digitisation of a number of important records around the Easter Rising, including the digitisation of UK court martial reports for the 1916 leaders. Each file contains the statement of the prisoner to the court martial and, sometimes, last letters to loved ones. The National Archives will make such records available next year and the British National Archives at Kew, PRONI, the National Library of Ireland and the National Records of Scotland are members of the Digital Preservation Coalition, and will work together to develop digital preservation strategies for born digital material.
I am very supportive of any initiatives that would encourage more co-operation with Northern Ireland and the UK, where appropriate. Those are the areas in which we are working together. If the Deputy has any examples in which she feels enhanced co-operation between the relevant archive authorities would be beneficial, I would be happy to examine them.