Irish Roots: An open letter to the General Register Office
Dear General Register Office,
I can’t deny that we’ve had our problems in the past. I know there are many, many unresolved issues that, one day, we may have to face head-on. (If you’re ready now, I know a good counsellor, a Mr. Deenihan. )
But GRO, GRO (you don’t mind if I call you that, do you?) I’ve been down to Werburgh Street. I’ve seen where you’re going to put us in a month’s time. It’s surrounded by high walls topped with razor-wire. It’s obvious where the watch-towers will be built. There’s plenty of space for the dog-handlers and the punishment cells.
The message to us is clear: leave. And you have your rights, you can tell us to go. But, GRO, what about the tourists? For God’s sake, think of the tourists.
I know your boss has said the move is only “until a long-term solution is found” . But he, and every other civil servant, is now under absolute compulsion to pretend to be an economist. And every economist knows that in the long term we’re all dead. Again, the message is clear.
If you want a permanent break, so be it. We’ll agree to any terms you like. The only sticking point is custody of the historic records. You keep pretending not to know, but they’re deeply loved by their extended family and there are many relatives who would make them comfortable and value them as they should be valued - the National Library, the National Archives, irishgenealogy.ie and many more.
I know you just want to be free. I know we can be annoying, clingy little nuisances. You can easily be rid of us - just make the historic records available. We’ll leave, perhaps reluctantly, or perhaps a little relieved that’s it’s finally over.
Yours in sorrow