State papers release should be synchronised


Sir, – The release, in the past few days, of the UK National Archives for 1997, again profiles an issue for our Government in terms of the publication of our “State papers”.

The fact that UK and Irish release years are not synchronised is detrimental to the broadest and most complete reflection on, and study of, specific historical incidents between our two countries.

In addition, the fact that UK papers are published ahead of ours, puts out the British side of any incident or story first, leaving us in a disadvantaged, follow situation some years later, as is the case just now pertaining to Anglo-Irish relations in 1997. The next tranche of UK papers to be released will cover the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Therefore, it is incumbent on An Taoiseach to ensure that there is no time lag between the release of the State papers on this pivotal and significant episode in modern Irish/UK history. We should not advantage the British narrative by allowing it to be out there first, and for a considerable time lapse.

– Yours, etc,