Some State files go missing

Charles Haughey.

In 1981 there was some discussion between TCD, the Bank of Ireland and Mr Haughey about the possibility of the National Museum taking over the old Parliament Building on College Green as an extension to the National Museum (a matter now resolved by the opening of Collins Barracks). 

The file itself is of little substance, except for a final paragraph in a department memo dated 14 September 1981. “There is a reference on this file to a file entitled ‘Bank of Ireland’, College Green - opening of new premises as museum.’ Registry are unable to locate this file and the last record of it is that it was marked to Mr O hAnnracháin. Mr Aylward suggested that it was likely that Mr Haughey took these papers with on leaving office. “ (Haughey left office 30 June 1981. )

It seems surprising that Minsters could simply walk out with state files containing documents of which there may be no other copies. But inquiries suggest it not so odd. 


Since the foundation of the state files have often gone missing. Some were destroyed on the arrival of a new administration, as in 1932. Others were simply taken away. 

When Garrett Fitzgerald left office he removed all the papers from his private office; these eventually found a home in UCD Archives department. Haughey’s papers are now in 350 archive boxes in Dublin City University, to which they were donated gratis by his family. But these will not be open to researchers until 2022. 

The carrying away of papers is not usual. John Bowman says that in his archival researches over the years it was common to find, in say, the papers of Lloyd George, official papers. It was, he suggested, a matter of the British Prime Minsters “taking office work home”. One might well believe that of Garrett Fitzgerald, but not of Charlie Haughey.