Paving way for 1926 census release


Madam, – The report (Home News, April 1st) that the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, intends pressing ahead immediately with paving the way for the early release of the 1926 census provides welcome news. It was fitting that the minister made this commitment on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

In An Irishman’s Diary (January 3rd, 2011) Steven Smyrl, chairman of the IGRS, suggested that the early release of the 1926 census could be facilitated by making available only the information relating to individuals born more than 100 years ago. His arguments were persuasive. They were supported by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) and now they have found favour with the minister.

Those involved in genealogy, whether as a hobby or a profession, have been seeking the release of the 1926 census for several years. Past efforts at persuading those in power fell short of the goal, most likely because of a failure to understand the restrictions of existing legislation.

The members of the various bodies represented by CIGO will understand that this is a positive outcome of the co-operation and determination of their organisations over the past two decades. They will acknowledge too that without Mr Smyrl’s guiding light and hard work it would still be a vague aspiration. – Yours, etc,


Fellow of the IGRS,



Co Wicklow.