Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 March 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Ivana BacikIvana Bacik (Independent)

It is entirely appropriate.

I join other speakers in commending primary and secondary school pupils who will be in front of Leinster House tomorrow for the strike for climate. In the Visitors Gallery today, we have rang a sé from Ranelagh Multi-Denominational School. Many of its pupils will be taking part in the strike for climate. I welcome them to the Gallery. It is a school that is close to my heart and I am delighted to see them.

I hope the Leader will come back to the issue of archive retention after the recess. The Retention of Records Bill 2019 was approved by Cabinet recently. The Bill is of real concern because it is suggested that very important records of child sex abuse perpetrated within institutions as investigated by the Laffoy commission, the Ryan commission, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and others are to be sealed and kept from any public scrutiny for 75 years. It is an extraordinary proposal by the Government and it is hard to understand why such a lengthy period has been identified. Why is it not the normal archive retention period of 30 years? Catriona Crowe, formerly of the National Archives, and other historians have expressed serious concern about this and there is an online petition about it. I urge colleagues to support my call to oppose the Bill and for questions to be raised as to why this lengthy period is being proposed for such important records regarding national issues we need to be able to address and to have our historians address within a shorter period than 75 years.

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